When the word “chronic” comes before the word “inflammation,” it’s time to pay attention. Inflammation itself is not harmful. While acute inflammation is part of the normal healing process, chronic inflammation can increase your odds of developing any number of health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Since chronic inflammation is a spark that sets off disease in the body, arm yourself with anti-inflammatory botanicals—because no one has time for chronic inflammation!
When looking for a strong ally to fight chronic inflammation, reach for curcumin. The subject of more than 8,000 scientific studies, curcumin is well known for its superior anti-inflammatory action and the ability to neutralize pro-inflammatory free-radical cascades.
Because curcumin fights inflammation, it also addresses pain throughout the body. A number of studies show that curcumin helps manage chronic pain through multiple pathways by suppressing cytokines—substances secreted by the immune system that contribute to inflammation.
Scientists now believe that chronic low-level inflammation can play a role in many of the diseases that plague society today. This can include heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and various degenerative conditions. Curcumin’s ability to help fight chronic inflammation is an important tool in both preventing and treating these conditions. It’s safe and non-toxic, making curcumin therapy high on the list for any condition involving inflammation.
However, standard curcumin formulations aren’t well absorbed by the body. To ensure all the benefits this herbal compound has to offer, research has found that truly effective supplements contain ar-turmerone—curcumin’s most bioactive turmerone. Multiple clinical trials show that curcumin with ar-turmerone provides greater absorption along with enhanced benefits, including halting tumor growth and triggering apoptosis. Listed on supplement labels as BCM-95, this optimized form of curcumin remains in the bloodstream longer, setting the stage for powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions. Because chronic inflammation is often accompanied by pain, look for a supplement that combines a clinically proven curcumin with boswellia, DL-phenylalanine, and nattokinase.
Boswellia is a powerhouse anti-inflammatory with the unique ability to target numerous inflammatory pathways in the body, including 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). The secret to boswellia’s efficacy lies in its boswellic acids, especially the AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid). Boswellia’s anti-inflammatory effects have been studied for osteoarthritis, pain, and the chronic inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory bowel disorders. What’s more, unlike pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs, boswellia is extremely safe and free from side effects.
To get all of these benefits, look for a boswellia that has at least 10 percent naturally occurring AKBA. Because boswellia also contains a pro-inflammatory compound called beta-boswellic acid, check the label to ensure your supplement contains less than five percent of this unwanted compound.
Surprised to see melatonin in a conversation about chronic inflammation? Best known as a sleep aid, melatonin has also been clinically proven to increase the immune system’s ability to fight off viral, bacterial, microbial, and parasitic infections. Researchers think that melatonin’s success in fighting viruses is connected to reining in the immune system’s over-reaction to pathogens and the inflammation that comes with them. A consortium of American and Chinese researchers found significant data to show that melatonin limits virus-related diseases. That’s exceptionally good news, as noted in the June 2020 issue of the journal Life Sciences. Melatonin’s role in increasing the immune system’s production of natural killer cells and T-cells equates to anti-inflammatory effectiveness against all kind of infections. This is especially important in seniors, whose immune system degrades with age.
Chronic inflammation triggers the increased production of LDL (bad) cholesterol that can damage arteries. Two fatty acids in omega-3s—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—have been shown to reduce this inflammation and help to maintain a healthier cholesterol profile. In fact, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that omega-3 supplementation helps prevent the buildup of plaque and stabilizes existing plaque in the arteries.
But, while traditional omega-3-rich fish oils are bound to triglycerides, there is a better alternative—omega-3s that are naturally bound to phospholipids. It’s also important to choose an omega-3 fish oil that comes from North Atlantic salmon and delivers three beneficial compounds: Omega-3s, phospholipids, and bioactive peptides. In an unpublished open clinical trial, 40 participants were given a phospholipid-rich omega-3 supplement twice per day. After 60 days, over half of the participants saw a 17 percent decrease in triglycerides and a 13 percent increase in their HDL. That’s important because scientists now know that the ratio of triglycerides to HDL is a better predictor of heart disease than a ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol.