The immune system plays a critical part in ensuring the body is able to fight off infections, pathogens, and other factors. When we are exposed to certain things, such as bacteria or viruses, then the immune system responds by creating inflammation. This inflammation actually has certain health benefits, but sometimes, inflammatory responses become chronic and long-lasting. Long-term inflammation can lead to the development of certain diseases, which is why it is important to recognize the causes and take appropriate action.
In this article, we are going to take a look at how chronic inflammation can affect your overall health. We also consider what causes chronic inflammation and what you can do about it. Our main focus is to look at anti-inflammatory supplements that may help to treat long-term inflammation in your body. These supplements generally use natural ingredients and may also produce additional benefits in certain cases.
What Causes Inflammation?
There are two types of inflammatory triggers that can occur in the body. This includes acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is a normal response by the body. It happens when our body is exposed to an illness, such as an infection, or when we suffer an injury. The inflammation plays a part in the recovery process and will subside over the course of a short while.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, usually develops slowly. It is less severe than acute inflammatory triggers but can have serious health complications in the long run. This refers to inflammation that starts out slowly and remains persistent over an extended duration of time.
There are several reasons why people develop chronic inflammation. It is common for people with certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, to experience low-grade inflammation. Persistent and prolonged stress has also been shown to lead to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Apart from health conditions, there are certain environmental and lifestyle factors that also share a link to the development of an increase in inflammatory markers. Sugary foods, refined carbohydrates, and a diet that is high in trans fats can cause systemic inflammation over time. Processed foods and alcohol are also two factors that need to be considered due to the inflammatory effects that they tend to produce.
Sometimes, long-term inflammation is the result of an acute inflammatory response. In this case, you may experience an injury, which leads to an acute inflammatory response by your body. Once the injury heals, however, the inflammation continues to remain present in your body.
Complications Of Chronic Inflammation
When there is a consistent presence of inflammatory markers in the body, it can lead to certain side effects and complications over time. Some studies have also linked this systemic inflammation to chronic diseases.
Due to the effects that inflammation can have on the body over time, it is important to understand the potential symptoms that may signal its presence. Persistent inflammatory markers can lead to the following symptoms over time:
- Weight changes
- Recurrent infections
- Pain in the body
When there are no strategies used to help reduce inflammation, then the inflammatory response may cause damage to organs and cells in the body. Low grade bodily inflammation can also lead to internal scarring, cause damage to the DNA of the body, and even lead to tissue death.
This consistent immune response can then lead to the development of the following conditions eventually:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart disease
- Cognitive decline
Can Supplements Help With Inflammation?
There is a large variety of supplements that claim to possess anti-inflammatory properties. These supplements claim to reduce inflammation by using certain natural substances, such as plant extracts. An anti-inflammatory supplement can sometimes assist with managing low-grade inflammation, but it is important to understand how they work.
Supplements that claim to reduce inflammation do not use the same ingredients as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This also means that they do not work as fast as medical drugs that assist with the management of acute inflammatory triggers. With this said, long-term use of certain supplements that contain anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce the level of inflammatory markers in the body.
Most of these supplements focus on the use of extracts that contain antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that are able to help reduce cellular damage and oxidative stress in the body. The damage is caused by free radicals and antioxidants act against these molecules.
Thus, when a person decides to use an anti-inflammatory supplement, they should understand that it can take a while to experience results. Over time, however, the supplement may help to reduce inflammation and even improve immune function. When these supplements reduce inflammation, the risk of certain complications, such as heart disease, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes is also reduced at the same time.
Best Supplements For Inflammation
One of the major issues that people face is the fact that there is a large variety of supplements that may help to fight inflammation. Due to the different formula options on the market, it is not easy to pick a supplement that really works.
Our team conducted some research and analyzed some of the top rated supplement options that claim to have anti inflammatory effects in the body. In this section, we take a closer look at the best supplements that you can use if you have persistent low grade inflammation.
The first supplement that we are going to take a look at is also one of the most popular ones. Curcumin supplements use turmeric root as the primary ingredient. Turmeric is a spice that most people have in their kitchen cupboard. The spice features a yellow-orange color and is known for its earthy flavor. Many people use turmeric when they prepare curries, but there are also other recipes and dishes that call for these spices.
Turmeric is not only a spice that can add flavor and color to a dish, however. The root of the turmeric plant has long been used for its potential health benefits. This is due to the curcumin that is found inside turmeric root.
Curcumin is a heavily researched natural chemical. These natural anti-inflammatory agents have also been shown to fight inflammation in scientific studies. In one study, researchers note that the use of curcumin supplements hold the potential to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by reducing inflammation in the patient’s body.
In another study, researchers also showed that curcumin may suppress the metastasis and tumorigenesis of molecules that affect certain pathways in the body. This means that by reducing inflammation at these points in the body, curcumin may also have a preventative effect against cancer.
Curcumin is also effective for cases where a chronic disease leads to persistent inflammation. Researchers considered how curcuminoids cause a reduction in oxidative stress among individuals who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The study showed that curcumin led to a considerable decrease in oxidative stress and inflammatory triggers when compared to the placebo group.
Curcumin supplements are well tolerated by the human body. The maximum recommended daily dose is 500mg, but some people do take more. Note that with higher doses, there is an increased risk for nausea, headaches, and diarrhea as side-effects.
Resveratrol is the name of a powerful antioxidant that is naturally found in certain fruits, such as blueberries and grapes. Peanuts, dark chocolate, and wine are also rich in resveratrol. This is also a natural substance that has a lot of research to back up its claims.
Resveratrol seems to produce anti-inflammatory effects due to its potent antioxidant properties. The antioxidant effects of resveratrol may also have a positive impact on the immune system in general and produce other health benefits too.
Studies show that resveratrol supplements are highly effective in reducing inflammation among people who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. One study also found that the use of supplements that contain resveratrol as an active ingredient provides benefits for people who have ulcerative colitis. In this particular study, there was a reduction in the amount of inflammation that was present in the gastrointestinal tract among these patients.
A clinical trial was conducted in 2016 to determine the efficacy of resveratrol compared to a placebo. The participants experienced a greater reduction in inflammation when they were given a tablet that contained 500mg of resveratrol every day, than those who took the placebo supplement.
Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that plays a role in the immune system and several other functions of the human body. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of inflammatory triggers.
Vitamin D might not be the most efficient option for people who already have healthy levels of these vitamins in their body. Those with low vitamin D levels, however, might be able to benefit from the potential anti-inflammatory effects that the nutrient seems to produce.
Restoring optimal vitamin D levels can be done through a healthy diet, as well as with the use of dietary supplements. Short periods of sun exposure on a daily basis is also beneficial for people who have a low level of vitamin D in their blood circulatory system.
Green Tea Extract Supplements
Green tea remains one of the most popular hot beverages throughout the entire world. The tea is incredibly beneficial, as it helps with inflammation, oxidative stress, and may even be a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight.
Green tea extract supplements contain a higher concentration of the primary antioxidants in the tea leaves, which are known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate. In addition to the EGCG content, green tea extract also contains chlorogenic acid, which further contributes to the benefits that it provides.
Green tea extract seems to provide efficient results for people who have joint pain. This includes joint pain caused by inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
We’ve covered some of the most potent supplement options that people can turn to if they want to reduce inflammation in their bodies. These, however, are not the only supplements that have shown potential when it comes to fighting inflammation.
Some studies have shown that vitamin C supplements may also help to cause a decline in inflammation. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can assist in optimizing the immune system. In turn, this may help to improve the regulation of inflammatory responses in the body.
Another potential supplement option is fish oil. There are various fish oil supplements on the market. These fish oil supplements contain fatty acids that are good for the body, such as omega 3 fatty acids. The use of fish oil and the fatty acids that these supplements contain reduces inflammation and can help to improve the regulation of cholesterol in the body. Regular use of omega 3 fatty acids and fish oil supplements may also lead to improved metabolic health and reduce joint pain more significantly among certain individuals.
Some people also turn to ginger supplements when they want to relieve pain and reduce their inflammation. Ginger root extract is often used for problems like nausea and vomiting. The zingerone and gingerol chemicals in ginger, however, may also be beneficial for people who have persistent inflammation in their body. In addition to pain relief and anti-inflammatory compounds, some studies have also shown that ginger may have a positive effect on blood sugar control.
How To Use Supplements For Inflammation
How a person uses a supplement with anti-inflammatory effects essentially determines how well it works. In addition to ensuring the supplement contains researched anti-inflammatory ingredients, correct usage can ensure the product brings down inflammation effectively.
The first step is to take a closer look at the label that comes with the supplement. This label contains valuable details about the ingredients in the supplement and the dosage instructions. Many supplements that produce anti-inflammatory effects should be taken once or twice a day. It is a good idea to take them at the same time every day, as this reduces the chances of skipping a dose. Consistent usage can help to produce a more powerful anti-inflammatory effect over a period of time.
Do These Supplements Cause Side-Effects?
Even though these supplements to reduce inflammation contain natural ingredients, it is important to understand the possibility of side-effects. It is relatively uncommon for people to experience any serious side-effects when they use supplements with potential anti-inflammatory benefits. Still, there are cases where people do experience adverse reactions.
The most common adverse effects that people report when they use supplements to fight inflammation includes gastrointestinal discomfort. This may lead to problems like abdominal pain, as well as changes in the person’s bowel movements. Some people may also experience diarrhea, but these side-effects usually last for only a few days.
It is also important that people understand the risk of allergic reactions when they use anti inflammatory supplements. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the ingredients that these anti inflammatory pills use. This can lead to hives, a skin reaction, such as a rash, as well as swelling in their lips, throat, and face. If these signs occur, the person should stop using the supplement to reduce inflammation and may need to visit the emergency room, depending on the severity of the reaction.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to several conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, heart disease, and more. To fight inflammation that is chronic, you can consider a range of natural supplements. These supplements help to reduce oxidative stress in your body and sometimes offer a strong anti-inflammatory response when you use them regularly. Take a closer look at the supplements we discussed in this post to help you not only deal with long term inflammation, but also inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost