Chronic Inflammation: Supplements to Reduce It and Protect Your Health

Normally, inflammation is part of a healthy immune response, an orchestrated onslaught of cells and chemicals that heal injury and fight infection—think redness, pain, and swelling.

But the process also has a quiet, dark side. Chronic “hidden” inflammation occurs throughout the body when something kick-starts the immune system and disengages the shut-off button. What ignites the fires differs from person to person: repeated or prolonged infections, smoking, or gum disease, for example. Obesity, too, makes you prone to inflammation, as fat cells churn out inflammatory proteins called cytokines.

The end result is the same: An endless trickle of immune cells interferes with the body’s healthy tissues, triggering genetic mutations that can lead to cancer or the bursting of plaque in an artery wall. A diet focused on vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, nuts and whole grains can reduce inflammation. Nutritional supplements also help, and unlike drugs, they work without causing stomach ulcers.

There are plenty of natural inflammation-fighter supplements.

Here are our top choices:

1. Omega 3 Fish Oil

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease the body’s production of a long list of pro-inflammatory biochemicals. It also helps to reduce levels of inflammatory interleukins, a marker of chronic inflammation. In studies, people with rheumatoid arthritis who took fish oil were able to reduce their dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs. They also reported less pain and stiffness.

Solgar Omega 3


2. Antioxidants

Immune cells cause oxidative damage as they fight infection, and ongoing oxidative damage drives chronic inflammation. Reducing oxidative damage can help control inflammation. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium all help to control oxidative damage by neutralizing “free radicals” .

Biocare Antioxidant


3. Turmeric Curcumin

Curcumin, a component of the yellow spice turmeric, found in curry, may have special anti-inflammatory properties in the eyes, where a layer of yellow pigment helps to protect the retina — and especially, the macula — from the harmful effects of sunlight. The pigment actually acts as a filter, blocking harmful blue UV light from striking the retina. Curcumin has been proven helpful for chronic anterior uveitis (an inflammation of the front part of the eye) and for macular degeneration.

Curcumoids the active ingredients in curcumin are greatly rich in antioxidants and help to fight general inflammation in the body.

NativOrganics Organic Turmeric Curcumin Complex



4. Bromelain

This protein-dissolving enzyme is obtained from the stem and fruit of the pineapple. Bromelain seems to exert its anti-inflammatory effect by altering leukocyte migration and activation. Leukocytes are white blood cells that help fight infection but can also perpetuate inflammation. Bromelain is good for an acute injury or inflammation caused by ongoing injury, such as osteoarthritis, with its ongoing injury to joint cartilage.

Nature’s Best Bromelain



5. Resveratrol

Some evidence suggests that resveratrol is a more potent anti-inflammatory agent than NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or indomethacin. Like ginger and fish oil, resveratrol inhibits a number of inflammation-producing biochemicals. It may reduce T cell proliferation. T cells are involved in some autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. It also affects cells called granulocytes, which are associated with the inflammation produced in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so it may be helpful in reducing the lung damage associated with this smoking-related ailment.

Solgar Resveratol