Mechanism of inflammation
Although inflammation is a part of the natural defense mechanism of the body to draw and trap repair cells at the site of damage, it may still cause severe damage to the body. Prostaglandins are locally released at the site of injury as the body’s regulator of inflammation. These substances act to both increase and decrease inflammation when needed. There are three different variations of PG in the body.
• PG1 is an anti-inflammatory prostaglandin derived from eicosanoic acid
• PG2 is derived from arachidonic acid, and is strongly inflammatory
• PG3, also derived from eicosanoic acid, isn't directly pro- or anti-inflammatory
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
There is a wide variety of anti-inflammatory drugs available, such as Motrin® or Advil® (ibuprofen); Naprosyn® (naproxen); Anaprox® (naproxen sodium); Indocin® (indomethacin); Relafen® (nabumetone) and Voltaren® (diclofenac). Ibuprofen® is the most commonly dispensed NSAID in the U.S. and Diclofenac® is the most commonly used world-wide.
They work by inhibiting the cyclo-oxygenase required for conversion of arachidonic acid to endoperoxide intermediates (PGG2 and PGH2). Although these medications are extremely effective, it is important to keep in mind that their action is often accompanied by side-effects such as gastrointestinal disturbances, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and renal damage. Other adverse effects include allergic reactions, cardiovascular effects, central nervous system problems, rash, etc.
There are several diet habits useful in reducing inflammation. Some basic advice:
• Add essential fatty acids to your diet
Taking a daily fish oil supplement high in omega-3 should perfectly balance out a diet. Nutritionists recommend adding an omega-6 supplement called gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, if a patient has rheumatoid arthritis. These fatty acids work restore the right amount of arachadonic acid in human blood. Olive oil could is also extremely useful because it’s high in oleic acid, an omega-9, and has significant anti-inflammatory properties.
• Avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates
Refined sugar and carbohydrates with a high glycemic load should be avoided, as should processed and convenience food. Keep it in mind that wheat, eggs, dairy, soy and nuts are the most common dietary irritants, which is why- an elimination diet is suggested based on avoiding a substance for two weeks, then introducing it for a day or two to identify individual sensitivities.
• Eat lots of fruit, vegetable, and wild fish
Most species of fish have astronomically high levels of mercury and PCB’s. The lower on the food chain the better – sardines, anchovies and shellfish are all good choices. Add a portion of vegetables to every meal and snack for their fiber and natural anti-inflammatory compounds. There are also many different herbs which contain flavonoids and polyphenols that limit free radical production. Some of the most common are garlic, green tea, blueberries, and ginger.
Omega-3: an alternative to inflammation decreasing
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid classified by a double bond between two carbons in the acid chain. Omega-3, specifically alpha-linolenic acid, is an essential fatty acid, and must be ingested either in food or as a supplement. Once ingested, the metabolism of omega-3 requires an enzyme, delta-5 desaturase, to be converted to anti-inflammatory PG3. Omega-3 actually reduces inflammation in two ways:
1. it leads to the production of anti-inflammatory PG3
2. it reduces the production potential of inflammatory PG2
Anti-inflammatory natural supplements
• High-quality daily multivitamin could be extremely beneficial!
Studies have proven that vitamin E lowers levels of CRP in the blood. CRP is a C-reactive protein also involved in inflammation. Vitamin D also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Vitamins C and B are powerful agents against free radicals. So, supplementing a diet with good multivitamins ensures the right level of nutrients when the body needs them the most.
• Other supplements
There are several other supplements available for joint inflammation. Some of the most common are glucosamine, sulfur, and chondroitin.
• Bioflavinoids - a large class of compounds derived from fruit and vegetables.
These substances include limonene, hesperidin, and rutin which are all derived from citrus. They can decrease arachidonic acid release, as well as histamine release.
• Curcuma Longa - a spice whose active component is the yellow pigment curcumin
This spice possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenase, and phospholipase A2 which all disrupts the arachidonic acid cascade.
• Quercetin - a citrus bioflavonoid that is also found in onions
This substance is absorbed in the intestine and can also be derived from rutin during digestion. It is known to reduce inflammation by inhibiting phospholipase and lipoxygenase enzyme activity. It also works well with vitamin C and vitamin E as a powerful antioxidant.
• Boswellia Serrata - from the leaves of a tree in central India
This plant blocks the enzyme lipoxygenase by reducing leukotriene production. It also decreases lymphocyte migration to inflamed tissues, so it has its uses for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This well-known spice interferes with the cyclooxygenase enzyme by reducing prostaglandin and thromboxane production.
• Rosemary - fresh or dried leaf of Rosmarinus officinalis
This plant has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It neutralizes nitric oxide and peroxynitrate radicals. Nitric oxide is produced when white blood cells encounter irritation. This irritation comes from contact with all kinds of allergens, infection, toxic exposure and trauma.
Evoking natural anti-inflammatories
• Adopting healthy habits and practicing physical activity every day
Providing a body with anti-inflammatory agents by regular exercise is probably the best aid one can provide for one’s own body. Start slow, with a simple walk, and then gradually increase the level of activity. 20-30 minutes of activity, five times a week, is recommended for most people. Exercise is a great way to counteract stress, especially when combined with deep breathing techniques such as yoga or Pilates.
• Relaxing techniques
Everyone should find time to relax. If living with chronic stress, one should try meditation or biofeedback therapies to learn the relaxation response. Talk therapy is very successful in helping people navigate their emotional minefields. This is a great way to begin sharing your emotional burdens.
• Rest is crucial
Simple rest is probably the best anti-inflammatory medicine. Sleeping between seven and nine hours a night will give the body enough time to heal from all the tiredness accumulated the day before.
Reducing the causes of inflammation
The first step should definitely be breaking all the bad habits. In order to do this, one should avoid substances such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and marijuana, because they put a heavy burden on normal functioning of the body. The fastest way to reduce inflammation is to stop smoking and using stimulants. A person should always try to use natural cleaning products and detergents and limit reliance on dry cleaning and air fresheners.
Of course, we’re not saying that you should completely eliminate your exposure to environmental toxins (because it would be impossible), but it is a good idea to periodically detoxify.
There are several alternative therapies to deal with pain management besides simple pain killers. These anti-inflammatory drugs should only be used for short periods. during acute crises. Many people have found significant pain relief through acupuncture, massage, water therapy, and other mind–body treatments which reduce pain and inflammation naturally.