Inflammation within our bodies is a natural healing response that occurs to help our bodies heal from injury, exercise, infection, harmful chemicals, processed foods, and internal stressors such as emotional and mental stressors that can damage our body’s tissues and cells. Inflammation is the necessary protective response the body must undergo to facilitate the healing process. However, if inflammation becomes chronic and long lasting it can damage the body’s tissues causing the body to go into a state of distress and dis-ease. Chronic and frequent inflammation has been linked with many health conditions from Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Cardiovascular Disease, Allergies, Asthma, Celiac’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, multiple skin conditions, gingivitis, and even Cancer.
As you can see, it important to keep inflammation levels normal within the body in order to avoid chronic sickness and ill health. Controlling inflammation levels can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. In my chiropractic office, the first thing we do to reduce acute inflammation is apply ice to the inflamed and injured area. Secondly, in more severe cases I will recommend chronic inflammation sufferers to avoid any dairy and grain products. Dairy products contain proteins that are difficult for the body to breakdown causing inflammation in the intestines and joints. Grain products contain a protein known as gluten that causes severe inflammation in the gut thus irritating the intestinal tract. Proper nutrition plays a key role in how your body functions under stress and how it can balance out inflammation levels. Unfortunately, the “Modern American Diet” puts us all at risk because it is full of processed foods that causes high amounts of inflammation in the body. To find out more ways to keep your body in balance I highly recommend to visit http://www.deflame.com and to read all of Dr. David Seaman’s articles to learn more about eating healthier to avoid foods that can cause chronic inflammation in the body. Lastly, if needed I will suggest a natural herbal anti-inflammtory option for patients to use in order to avoid harmful stomach irritations that over-the-counter pharmaceutical anti-flammatory drugs produce. Herbal and other natural supplementation is almost always necessary in cases of chronic inflammation of joints and tissues. There are many supplements out there that can help reduce inflammation in the body as well as making changes to your diet. Listed below are some of my favorite natural supplements that I recommend to patients in my office.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – “Nature’s Natural Anti-Inflammatory” plays an important role in regulating inflammation response in our bodies. Our modern day diet of processed foods, sugars, and grains throws off the proper ratio between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. An excessive amount of Omega-6 Fatty Acids in our diet can cause inflammation levels to be high in the body. Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in order to keep a more ideal ratio between the them and keep inflammation levels normal in your body. Food sources are salmon, wild game, grass fed meat, fresh and wild caught fish, and flax seed. Krill Oil is also a good source of Omega-3’s and has currently gained popularity as of late. I strictly stick with fish oils from Nordic Naturals or Standard Process of Texas because of the quality assurance of these two company’s supplements (Both companies test their fish oils for mercury). If a patient has Gout and cannot do fish oils I often recommend adding flax seed oil to their regime.
- Turmeric (Curcumin) – The spice known as “Curry” in it’s concentrated from plays an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. Studies have shown the societies that use the spice curry in their diets have less arthritis as a whole. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant that is 5 to 8 times stronger than Vitamin E and it’s even stronger than Vitamin C too! A super supplement that has helped myself as well as many of my patients that I often recommend is Turmero-Active from Apex Energetics.
- White Willow Bark (Salix Alba) – “Nature’s Natural Aspirin” has been used since the Ancient Greeks to reduce aches, pains, and fevers. It has all the benefits of aspirin but none of the side effects! Use this herb if you have a headache but don’t forget to get your chiropractic adjustment too!
- Bromelain – Typically extracted from pineapples this supplement has been used to reduce swelling , bruising, and inflammation. It is capable of breaking down the proteins that cause inflammation. It is even used as a meat tenderizer in grocery stores because of this property. Use it to help your body to break down the proteins that produce inflammation. Who doesn’t love a little pineapple at breakfast?
- Boswellia (Boswellia serreta) – Is yet another herbal option used for arthritis, inflammation and it has even been said to have some anti-cancer properties.
- Vitamin D – Not actually a vitamin at all, Vitamin D is a hormone! It’s a super hormone that has many important jobs in our body. Our body is capable of making “Hormone D” by absorbing sunlight. Unfortunately, most of us are stuck indoors for 40 hour work weeks and locked inside during the winter months. Vitamin D supplementation is an absolute must for everyone. It promotes proper immune function, tissue regeneration, brain function, bone support, and helps fight depression. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and MS. We use vitamin D3 Gummies by Nordic Naturals for kids at our office because the important role Vitamin D plays in optimal development. Other Vitamin D products we like are Liquid Ultra-D form ApeX Energetics and Vitamin D from Garden of Life as well.
At our office in Joshua just south of Burleson, Texas we carry whole food nutritional supplements by Standard Process of Texas, Apex Energetics, Garden of Life, and Nordic Naturals because of their superior quality control. Please consult with a health care professional before using any of the above suggested nutritional supplements. Some of the above herbal/nutritional supplements may react adversely with medications and other health related conditions.
Written by Dr. Joseph J. Thomas (Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner by the ACBSP)