Most of us will have some physical pain throughout our lives (i.e., we fall down, injure ourselves playing sports, etc.). Everyone is also familiar with the typical sensations that go along with those injuries – heat, soreness, swelling and pain. These natural responses by the body to physical injury help with the healing process. However, over time, chronic inflammation can be bad for your health. Luckily, Mother Nature has given us many ways that we can help our body in the healing and recovery process and minimize the pain and discomfort that accompany them.
Controlling Inflammation Naturally
Safe, natural and effective methods of controlling inflammation have become a primary focus of research in chronic auto-immune and inflammatory conditions, largely due to their necessity and the serious side effects associated with prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) in the correct balance are needed to maintain a healthy inflammatory response. Typically, we eat diets that are high in omega-6 essential fatty acids (i.e., corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils) saturated fats (i.e., animal protein and dairy products), hydrogenated fats and/or partially-hydrogenated fats and oils. These fats increase the production of pro-inflammatory compounds and intensify chronic inflammatory conditions. Omega-3 essential fatty acids – including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) – promote anti-inflammatory responses and ease chronic inflammation. Omega-3 EFAs are found primarily in fresh, cold water fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, and mackerel), leafy green vegetables and flaxseed oils. Therefore, balancing a typically omega-6 rich diet with omega-3 fatty acids can be an effective way to shift the balance toward anti-inflammatory compounds and can provide a foundation for relief in chronic inflammatory disorders.
EPA-DHA Complex can provide omega-3 essential fatty acids necessary in cases of inflammation and pain.
Phytochemicals found in herbs, including ginger, turmeric, cayenne and boswellia demonstrate many pain and inflammation reducing properties. Here is a sampling of data supporting the use of these powerful, natural compounds:
- Ginger – patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and muscular discomfort were given ginger; more than 75% of the arthritic patients and all the patients with muscular discomfort reported improvements in pain and swelling.
- Turmeric – curcumin (the principal compound in turmeric) showed significant improvement in joint swelling and relief from morning stiffness when compared to phenylbutazone (an anti-inflammatory drug) in a double blind trial.
- Cayenne – capsaicin (the principal compound in cayenne) has shown marked ability to suppress inflammation, decreasing pain and inflammation in joints and muscles.
- Boswellia – boswellia is an Ayurvedic herb that has shown significant reduction in joint pain, swelling, and morning stiffness, while improving general health and well-being in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Inflavanoid Intensive Care contains all four of these compounds and has demonstrated ability to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with acute and chronic injury or inflammatory conditions.
In addition, proteolytic enzymes, including bromelain, papain, proteases, trypsin, chymotrypsin and pancreatin, have demonstrated significant reduction in pain and inflammation and faster recovery rates in cases of inflammation by improving circulation to the damaged area.
Vascuzyme is a select blend of proteolytic enzymes that can dramatically decrease inflammation and speed healing in cases of acute trauma and accidents as well as chronic inflammatory conditions.
Repairing the Damage
Glucosamine sulfate is a fundamental building block for joint tissue. Studies show that it can significantly reduce joint pain, tenderness and swelling as well as increase mobility. Studies show that although glucosamine sulfate (1500 mg/day) is slower acting than ibuprofen, the improvements with glucosamine sulfate were more consistent and progressive, leading to significantly lower pain scores after only 8 weeks.
Chondroitin sulfate has also been shown to aid in cases of joint inflammation by inhibiting the breakdown of joint tissue and promoting healthy tissue synthesis.
Chondro-Flx provides therapeutic amounts of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate to help repair joint and tissue damage.
Supporting Proper Gut Integrity
Tissue injury due to long term inflammation or use of NSAIDs can propagate chronic inflammatory conditions. Therefore, restoring the health of the gut is often an essential component to eliminating chronic inflammation. Three compounds have proven particularly useful:
- L-Glutamine – supplementation of L-glutamine helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining and promotes optimal immune responses. Glutamine supplementation with NSAIDs showed significantly lower damage to the gut as compared to NSAID use without glutamine.
- Deglycyrrhizinized licorice (DGL) – DGL enhances the stomach lining and has been shown to reduce aspirin-induced stomach lining damage and accelerate gastric ulcer healing, making it especially useful for those recovering from NSAID use.
- Aloe vera – aloe vera promotes faster healing in the gut and provides immune support.
Glutagenics provides these three compounds in an easy to take powdered form to quickly and effectively support proper gut integrity, which also provides added protection for those using or recovering from NSAID use.
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
What you eat can have a dramatic impact on how you feel. You can speed recovery and reduce pain by eating foods that speed up the healing process and eliminating foods that will slow it down. Here are some general guidelines for you to follow:
- Eat more sulfur-containing foods, including asparagus, onions, garlic, green leafy vegetables, non-acid fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice and fish – these compounds are needed for repair of bone, cartilage and connective tissue and also aid in calcium absorption.
- Eat fresh pineapple frequently. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that is excellent for reducing inflammation (note that most of the bromelain is in the core of the pineapple); must be fresh, as freezing and canning destroy the enzymes.
- Eat some form of fiber daily – ground flaxseeds, oat bran, rice bran, legumes, etc.
- Reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Do not consume milk, dairy products or red meat.
- Avoid caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and everything that contains sugar.
- Avoid nightshade vegetables (bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and white potatoes); these foods contain a chemical called solanine that interferes with enzymes in the muscles and can cause pain and discomfort, especially in those with arthritis.
- Do not take iron supplements. Supplemental iron can increase pain, swelling and joint destruction. Consume iron rich foods instead – blackstrap molasses, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fish, lima beans and peas.
- Eat an alkaline diet. When the blood increases in acidity, pain and inflammation also increase. Have at least 50-75% of your plate contain alkaline forming foods.
If you injure yourself, you can dramatically speed your healing and recovery by using the guidelines above. If you suffer from chronic pain, use these guidelines to reduce your pain and facilitate healing. If you have osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis, or if you are particularly interested in joint health, please contact us.