Reducing Inflammation

Many of us have experienced acute inflammation for example from a sports injury or trauma. A couple of days of drug therapy in the form of antiinflammatory OTC (over the counter) is inexpensive and convenient, or by prescription only Celebrex or Voixx may be indicated.

However, many people are self-prescribing and taking Ibuprofen, Aleve, aspirin, or any number of OTC (over the counter) NSAIDS (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs) daily, for either acute or chronic inflammation. These medications have side efects. The purpose of this article is to present ideas and options for people who want long term anti-inflammatory options.

Recent research has shown how the omega 3 fatty acids found in significant amounts in fish oils, especially salmon, sardines, and herring effect the inflammatory pathways in our body resulting in decreased inflammation.

In countries such as Japan and Greenland and the areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the population cunsumes considerably higher portions of omega 3 fatty acids than in areas where there is little fish consumption, and the measured risk for death by cardiovascular diseases is decreased. This indicates that years of eating such a diet may reduce vasoconstriction, platelet aggregation, arterial inflammation that leads to heart attack and stroke.

Similairly, it is believed that such diets decrease the incidence of certain cancers for example prostate and colon.

Acute inflammatory manifestations such as asthma, and arteritis are much more difficult to control via diet alone. It is very difficult to get adequate quantities of omege 3 fatty acids to resolve acute conditions, excessive quantities of omega 3 fatty acids, via supplementation may have adverse effects. At high levels, there may be immuno-suppression, and they may serve as pro-oxidants.

In order to achieve a therapeutic anti-inflammatory effect, not only is an increase in the PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) needed, but the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids needs to go up. Therefore, with an dietary increase in dietary omega 3, there must be a corresponding decrease in other oils. For example, decreasing sunflower, palm, corn, cottonseed and safflower oils. Olive oil is unique in that although it has a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids, it also contains a relatively large amount of oleanolic acid which biochemically has an indirect anti-inflammary effect. In order to achieve the therapeutic goal of decreased inflammation, supplemental fish oil would be required and should be only done under the supervision of a physician.

Other options for reducing inflammation in the body is by ingesting herbs that block the inflammatory enzymes. These include drinking tea, consuming garlic, tumeric, quercitin (apples, fruit juices) boswellic acid (frankincense). Many fruits and vegetables also provide flavonoids which may be indirect inhibitors of the inflammatory pathways in the body.

A completely natural regime for a reduction in inflammation may be possible via dietary changes and the use of supplements including fish oils and herb extracts.