by Dr. Will Cole
If you’re even just a little bit interested in wellness, you’ve probably heard about inflammation. Everyone has some level of inflammation in their body. In fact, it’s actually a healthy reaction. However, it can quickly become detrimental when inflammation reaches ongoing high levels. It’s this chronic inflammation that is a factor in many serious health problems including depression, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions.
The good news is that inflammation can be subdued and as a result, so can symptoms of these inflammatory health problems. When it comes to healing, the first step is to find out what’s fueling your inflammation to begin with. As a functional medicine practitioner I advocate for having lab work done to be as informed about your health as possible. In general though, if you already know that you’re struggling with inflammation, you can get it under control with a few supplements that work to drive-down inflammation and support areas of the body that help control inflammation.
This spice has created quite the buzz for its powerful inflammation-busting properties. In a supplement, you’ll want to look for curcumin specifically. This is the antioxidant compound inside of turmeric that is responsible for turmeric’s inflammation fighting ability. You can use turmeric to season food but if you are really looking to target inflammation taking a supplement is the best way to go. It’s been shown that as much as 10 grams a day of curcumin is an effective and safe maintenance dose. Make sure that your supplement also contains piperine from black pepper since it can increase the bioavailablity of curcumin by 2,000 percent!
If you gut is in bad shape, the rest of your health probably is as well. When your intestinal lining is damaged it leads to increased gut permeability and what is known as leaky gut syndrome. Food particles and bacteria end up entering your bloodstream and triggers an overload of inflammation in your body. Many things can lead to leaky gut syndrome including the foods you eat and certain medications.
Eating a clean diet with natural fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut is a great way to start your gut healing journey. But probiotics can take your healing to the next-level by providing your microbiome with additional beneficial bacteria. Make sure to get a probiotic that has Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains to help fight inflammation as well as a dosage of at least 10 billion CFU.
3. Support methylation
Methylation, a biochemical process in your body, happens a billion times every second to help your body detox and keep inflammation under control. B vitamins act as fuel for properly functioning methylation and are especially important if you have any genetic mutations such as MTHFR. With so many types of B vitamins, it’s important to get a well-rounded amount of each. A B-complex vitamin that contains methylated B vitamins is a good option. You’ll want to make sure it contains activated B vitamins like B9 L-Methylfolate (L-5-MTHF), B6 Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate (P5P), and B12 versions like Hydroxycobalamin B12, Adenosyl B12, Cyano B12, or Methyl 12. A good general dose is 1,000 mcg methylcobalamin (B12) per day and anywhere between 400 to 800 mcg for methylfolate (B9) per day.
4. Activate Nrf-2
The Nrf-2 protein works to regulate antioxidant gene induction to turn on genes responsible for detox pathways. Inflammation starts to subside when Nrf-2 is activated but continues to rise when it’s low. Certain antioxidants are able to activate Nrf-2:
You can get these antioxidants in through certain foods like broccoli (l-sulforaphane), green tea (EGCG), and turmeric (curcumin) but a supplement containing all of these antioxidants can really target your Nrf-2 pathways.
5. Fight NF-kB
There are many different pro-inflammatory cells throughout your body that trigger inflammation. Nuculear factor kappa B, or NF-kB for short, is one of these bad guys. It can actually bind to your DNA and cause a variety of inflammatory cascades. Studies have even linked NF-kB in the pathogenesis of different autoimmune-inflammation spectrum diseases.
Certain plant medicines, adaptogens in particular, have been shown to lower NF-kB levels. These plants and herbs are one of my favorite tools to balance different systems of the body that are out of whack. Ashwagandha and astragalus are next-level NF-kB fighters and can be found in powdered form to add to smoothies and tea.
It’s always important to work with your doctor or functional medicine practitioner, even with natural supplements, to determine which supplements are right for your particular health case since what works for one person doesn’t always work for the next. However, these are generally safe for everyone and can be a good place to start in managing inflammation.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.