Inflammation is a natural and beneficial bodily process, but it often occurs chronically and outside of its intended purpose. Chronic inflammation can cause damage to the body. Here, we answer: What is chronic inflammation? Why is it bad? And, what supplements can help thwart it?
What Is Chronic Inflammation?
To understand chronic inflammation, you must first understand inflammation and why it occurs. Inflammation is the body's natural and healthy way of healing damaged tissue. The process begins when damaged tissues release certain chemicals, which trigger white blood cells to produce substances that cause cells to divide, multiply, and grow. Inflammation should begin and end when healing is completed.
Chronic inflammation is when inflammation occurs in the body when there is no injury, and it goes on without a timely end. This can be caused by a variety of factors including obesity, infections, and stress. Chronic inflammation can cause subtle changes over months and years, and it is a major factor in multiple types of disease.
The Negative Effects of Chronic Inflammation
There is much talk in modern medicine about chronic inflammation, and there are many reasons for this. Chronic inflammation in the human body is known to cause damage to cells and DNA over time, as well as tissue death and organ damage. This damage can lead to various diseases such as Type II diabetes, as well as Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Unhealthy lifestyle patterns can have a huge impact on the manifestation of chronic inflammation in the long term. Risk factors for chronic inflammation include a diet high in refined sugars and carbohydrates and/or unhealthy fats, frequent alcohol consumption to excess, chronic stress, irregular sleep patterns, and obesity.
Conversely, chronic inflammation is also a symptom of some diseases. This includes autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus.
Supplements for Chronic Inflammation & Inflammatory Diseases
The inflammatory response is dependent on a host of bodily factors. A variety of herbs and nutrients have properties that can prevent or mitigate inflammation. Following is a list of five of the best herbs and other substances that can effectively combat chronic inflammation:
Ginger has properties that have been shown to effectively reduce inflammation that results from Type II diabetes. The active components in ginger are gingerol and zingerone. Substantial decreases in inflammation have occurred in diabetes patients who took more than 1000 mcg of ginger per day. Ginger could combat inflammation that accompanies other diseases as well.
Turmeric is an herb that contains a powerful substance known as curcumin. Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been shown to improve most of the major markers of diabetes, including insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects could also improve health outcomes for those with Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, and depression.
Spirulina is an algae that is high in B-vitamins, antioxidants, and other healthy substances. It is available as an oral supplement, and is shown, both in human and in animal studies, to reduce inflammation. Diseases and ailments that could be mitigated by spirulina's anti-inflammatory effects include anemia, diabetes, hay fever, and even depression.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red wine and other plant-derived foods, and it's known for its anti-inflammatory effects. It has been shown to improve inflammation and quality of life in those with inflammatory bowel disease. Resveratrol is also recognized for its potential to treat inflammation that occurs due to obesity, liver disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA, which are proven to reduce inflammation that occurs due to Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and heart disease. One of the primary ways these acids do this is by reducing cytokines, which are molecules that trigger bodily inflammation.
If you have an inflammatory condition, or are at risk of one due to ongoing chronic inflammation, you will almost certainly benefit by taking in the right herbs and nutrients via an oral supplement. It is an easy and often very effective way to mitigate inflammation. Talk to your healthcare provider before using any of these supplements for the first time.