Treating Chronic Inflammation Naturally

One of the ways of slowing the aging process is to prevent the body from becoming chronically inflamed.  How does one become chronically inflamed, and how do we prevent it?  

The inflammatory process is a normal response in the body and serves as a defense mechanism when we get ill or injured.  The body produces histamine, fluids and leukocytes to help heal injured areas of the body, and as a result, one may experience more swelling, redness, increased mucus, watery eyes and inflammation.  This usually lasts a few days then the body returns to its normal state.

Chronic inflammation occurs when the body has repeated acute inflammatory reactions, such as someone experiencing bad seasonal allergies.  With chronic inflammation, the body is exposed to irritants over a longer period of time.  Without proper treatment, the body struggles to return back to its normal state.  These irritants include pollutants, chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  

Certain viruses and diseases can really stress the immune system because they act like a parasite in the body.  In such cases, the immune system will keep responding over time, trying to get rid of the foreign invader or unwelcome guest in the body.  If this goes on for too long, the immune system can weaken and possibly start attacking its own tissues resulting in an autoimmune condition.  Symptoms of chronic inflammation include pain, extreme and constant fatigue, depression and/or anxiety, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, acid reflux, weight gain, skin rashes, constant runny nose, and frequent infections.  Chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases and medical conditions including cancer.  

If you can relate to some of these symptoms, start taking action now to prevent chronic inflammation.  Below are some tips for assisting in preventing and decreasing inflammation in the body naturally.

  • Acupuncture has been shown to decrease stress by tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that is responsible for rest and relaxation) and regulating stress hormones of the body such as cortisol.  As a result, this decreases the inflammation in the body while improving circulation.  Prolonged periods of stress lead to increased levels of cortisol and inflammation.   Over time, the body becomes desensitized to the cortisol resulting in tissue breakdown and a weakened immune system.  Acupuncture has also been shown to decrease tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) in the body, a cell that is responsible for initiating several inflammatory pathways in the body, creating systemic inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory Diet:  Consume a diet that is high in greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein and healthy fats.  Avoid alcohol, smoking, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, eating too much animal protein, dairy and processed and packaged foods.  A gluten free diet is also helpful to reduce your inflammation. 
  • Nutritional supplements that promote anti-inflammatory effects in the body.  Some of my favorites are listed below. 
    1. 1. SPM Active by Metagenics– SPM stands for specialized pro resolving mediators.  They are produced at the affected tissue site in the body and function as resolution agonists for the immune system to bring back homeostasis of the body.  The SPM active assists with the process and completion of the resolution phase in the body.  This high potency fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory for the body and assists the body with its natural defense mechanisms.
    2. 2. Inflavonoid Intensive Care by Metagenics– This supplement is mainly made up of Curcumin, Boswellia Serrata, Xanthohumol and Ginger.  This combination has been shown through research to decrease pain and inflammation by modulating enzymes, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.  This formulation also decreases TNF-a. 
    3. 3. Inflammacore by Orthomolecular- This nutritional formula is a tasty shake that comes in strawberry, chocolate mint or vanilla chai.  It is designed to balance the inflammation in the body while strengthening the gastrointestinal barrier.
  • Exercise reduces toxins in the body that contribute to inflammation, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, lowers resting heart rate, and lowers blood sugar.
  • Meditation helps to manage stress, lower heart rate, and improve one’s sense of well-being.
  • Stay well hydrated and drink room temperature water.
  • Herbal Medicine- there are many anti-inflammatory herbs that can be included in your health plan.  Some of the common herbs that we are familiar with have anti-inflammatory properties such as Ginger, Skullcap root, Chrysanthemum, Peppermint and Orange Peel to name a few.