Tag Archives: inflamation

Natural Anti-Inflammatories for Pain Relief

Pain_ReliefJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN

There are actually millions of us who experience the occasional discomfort of acute pain, such as a seemingly sudden back ache or muscle soreness after exercise, which may be a normal consequence of strain or overuse. Then there are those who have steady, constant and sometimes debilitating chronic pain, which can be the result of an accident or health conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia or a serious infection. Pain is largely the result of inflammation, which is part of the body’s natural immune response to injury or disease as defenses kick in to protect and heal the body. Typically, pro-inflammatory cytokines play a well established essential role in the inflammatory and neuropathic pain signaling processes.  

For relief of inflammation-induced sporadic pain, many of us are quick to pop an OTC anti-inflammatory product that is generally recognized as safe. Alternately, severe chronic pain may necessitate diagnosis and treatment and may result in pharmaceutical prescription medications for relief, which often carry an array of possible side effects, including addiction and gastrointestinal problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, some side effects can be life threatening, including a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and acute renal failure. In fact, the National Kidney Foundation asserts that the substantial overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is directly related 10% of kidney failures each year.

Because of the real health and safety concerns of side effects regarding the long-term use of both OTC and prescription medications for chronic and degenerative pain conditions, there is a greater interest in herbal remedies and dietary supplements that can reduce pain and inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory pathways in a similar pattern as NSAIDs. Alternative treatments for occasional pain might also include rest, chiropractic adjustments, massage or acupuncture and when the time is right, yoga, tai chi or other muscle strengthening exercises to reduce pain and enhance the quality of life.

Those seeking an alternative solution for temporary pain may want to consider natural anti-inflammatory compounds, which contain ingredients that have been effectively used for centuries to reduce pain and inflammation without undesirable side effects. Some may require patience for optimal results. Although non-steroidal medications can be effective, herbs and dietary supplements may offer a safer, and often an effective, alternative treatment for pain relief, especially for long-term use.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids – Research has shown that EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids, are effective natural anti-inflammatory agents. The American Heart Association recommends fish oil supplements for prevention of vascular inflammation, an underlying cause of coronary artery disease. Many positive clinical studies have shown fish oil to significantly reduce joint tenderness and stiffness in arthritic persons, which may lead to a reduction in NSAID use.

Curcumin – Derived from turmeric, curcumin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. As a result of its long history and its demonstrated effect on inflammatory pathways, curcumin is considered a viable natural alternative to non-steroidal agents for pain relief and treatment of inflammation.

Pycnogenol – This maritime pine bark has also been used since ancient times for healing and reducing inflammation. Because it naturally contains a potent blend of polyphenols, pycnogenol is considered one of the most effective antioxidant compounds.

White willow bark – Similar to pycnogenol, white willow bark is one of the oldest herbal remedies for pain and inflammation. Its use dates back to ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Indian civilizations. White willow bark action has shown to have an efficacy similar to aspirin in that it blocks inflammatory prostaglandins, without the possible side effects of long-term aspirin use.  

MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane, an organic sulfur compound, has many therapeutic benefits. Among these is its high degree of success in treating chronic pain caused by arthritis, muscle aches, sports and personal injuries and fibromyalgia. MSM has been shown to safely and effectively fight inflammation and reduce or eliminate muscle soreness, stiffness and cramping.

As with any dietary supplement, if you are pregnant, nursing or taking medications, always consult with your health care provider prior to starting any new regimen. Our knowledgeable staff is always ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have about any of our dietary supplements.  

OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics – This product provides a healthy balance of highly concentrated, pure omega-3 essential fatty acids. Sourced from cold water marine lipids and produced in Norway at a licensed pharmaceutical plant, these natural lemon flavored softgels are stabilized with natural antioxidants to ensure freshness. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

MSM powderMSM Powder by Pure Encapsulations – This patented MSM product contains 99.7% pure elemental sulfur, a naturally occurring organic compound that promotes healthy joints and provides crucial connective tissue support. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian product.

Turmero Active (K-75)Turmero™ Active (K-75) by Apex Energetics – This liquid herbal formula provides a unique source of 95% concentrated curcuminoids in an emulsified micronized structure. The formula includes black pepper extract for enhanced utilization. Easily administered by oral syringe included with product. Natural orange flavor.

Pycnogenol 100 mg
Pycnogenol® 100 mg by PhysioLogics – One rapid-release capsule delivers 100 mg of pure natural plant extract obtained from French maritime pine bark grown in southwest France. Gluten, soy and dairy free formula.

 

TraumericTraumeric by Ortho Molecular – This natural anti-inflammatory product contains a synergistic blend of standardized turmeric root extract, bromelain, quercetin and rutin, which work to limit the action of certain impeding enzymes in the inflammation pathways in order to reduce acute inflammation.

 

References:
Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Online. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011108/
Choosing Natural Supplements for Arthritis Pain Relief. Online. http://www.healthnews.com/en/news/Choosing-Natural-Supplements-for-Arthritis-Pain-Relief/3KLokZr8H7SPvXriP7RZUd/
Pain In America. Online. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/chronic_pain.htm#Is_there_any_treatment
What is inflammation? What causes inflammation. Online. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php#why_does_inflammation_cause_pain

The Anti-Inflammatory Eating Plan

Anti InflamatoryBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Chronic inflammation may be viewed as a silent epidemic that over time leads to ill health.  In other words, you may feel fine but could still have high levels of inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is a key factor in almost all chronic degenerative and lifestyle-caused diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, certain cancers and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.  Changes in diet can help combat chronic inflammation, reduce the risk of age-related diseases, and improve overall health.  The anti-inflammatory eating plan may be a recipe for long-term health and a lifetime of optimal nutrition. 

The concept for the anti-inflammatory diet is that eating more anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding inflammatory ones can prevent or reduce symptoms of disease, slow down the aging process and lead to weight loss.  Of course, other factors such as stress, sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, and smoking can all contribute to chronic, long-term inflammation, but diet also plays a role.  This long-term, eat for life diet emphasizes foods that are high in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids.  

Basics of this eating plan include:

  • An abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Aim for 3 – 4 servings of fruit each day in a wide range of colors.  Choose fresh in season or frozen fruits.  Include a minimum of 4 – 5 servings of vegetables in a variety of colors.  Eat both raw and lightly steamed veggies and choose organics when possible.   Fruits and vegetables are rich in carotenoids and flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Include 3 – 5 servings of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, steel-cut oats, and bulgur.  Whole grains digest slowly so they have a low glycemic index which is anti-inflammatory.  
  • Eat more beans including black beans, chickpeas, adzuki beans and lentils.  Beans contain folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber and have a low glycemic load. 
  • Opt for healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, sunflower, or canola oil.  Sources of healthy fats also include avocados, walnuts, and seeds.  Healthy fats are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols.  Eat less butter, high fat cheese and fatty meats. 
  • Have fish and seafood 3 – 5 times per week.  For omega-3’s include wild salmon, sardines, or herring.  For those that don’t care for seafood, include a daily fish oil supplement that provides both EPA and DHA. 
  • Decrease consumption of animal protein except for fish, natural cheeses and yogurt.  Eat more vegetable and soy protein, skinless chicken and grass-fed lean meats. 
  • Unlimited amounts of cooked Asian mushrooms.  Eat mushrooms such as shitake, maitake or oyster for enhanced immune function.  Make sure all mushrooms are cooked before consuming.  Reduce consumption of common button mushrooms. 
  • Spice it up.  Flavor your foods with turmeric, curry powder, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, cilantro and garlic.  Many spices have powerful, natural, anti-inflammatory agents. 
  • Drink 2 – 4 cups per day of green tea, white tea or oolong tea.  Tea contains catechins which help reduce inflammation. 
  • Avoid alcohol except for an optional 1 – 2 glasses of red wine daily.   The dark skin and seeds of grapes contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that includes resveratrol, which offers cell membrane protection and anti-inflammatory  properties. 
  • Supplement with a multivitamin-mineral complex that includes vitamin C, vitamin E,  selenium, folic acid, Vitamin D and for women only,  calcium.  You can also supplement with CoQ1O and with ginger and turmeric if they are not already in your diet.
  • A little bit of sweets including unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate or fruit sorbet is okay a few times per week. 
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day. 
  • Avoid processed and fast foods, foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, foods made with wheat flour and sugar, margarine, vegetable shortening, and hydrogenated oils. 

Although this is not a weight loss diet, many people who follow this plan do lose weight.  Maintaining a healthy weight is another key to reducing inflammation.  Be patient, an anti-inflammatory diet takes longer to work than anti-inflammatory medicine.  Remember this way of eating is for long-term health, not quick weight loss. 

Nutrivitamin Enzyme Complex w/o iron (Tyler)Nutrivitamin Enzyme Complex w/o Iron by Integrative TherapeuticsThis exclusive multivitamin and mineral supplement contains highly concentrated, synergistic plant enzymes for optimal nutritional maintenance.  With vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and fruit sourced antioxidants in a readily absorbed formula. 
 
Super Omega-3 Gems Fish Oil
 
Super Omega-3 Gems Fish Oil by Carlson Labs –  Contains a naturally occurring source of polyunsaturated omega-3’s EPA and DHA. 
 
 
 
Turmeric Flavanoid Complex
 
Turmeric Flavanoid Complex by Ethical Nutrients –  A scientifically formulated blend of select ginger and turmeric with vitamin C and a lemon bioflavonoid complex.