As a chiropractor, I’m always looking for the most effective natural methods to help my patients. One question I’m asked repeatedly is, “What are the best natural anti-inflammatories and supplements for pain?”
I take 3 factors into account before recommending a supplement:
- Quality of the supplement
- Scientific support for the ingredients
- Positive reviews from my patients
A product will rarely get my endorsement if it doesn’t fulfill all these conditions.
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What are the best natural anti-inflammatories?
*Always consult a licensed health care professional before altering your current recommended health routine or beginning a new one
First, it’s important to understand that inflammation is not a mistake. It’s a very intelligent and helpful response to injury and infection.
That said, it can get out of control under certain circumstances.
I often recommend the following 3 supplements when someone asks me about natural anti-inflammatories. They can help regulate inflammation so it doesn’t overwhelm the body.
1. Fish Oil
Most of us get too much of the wrong kind of essential fatty acids.
The ratio of omega fatty acids in the body should ideally be about 1 or 2 omega-3s to every 1 omega-6.
Unfortunately, the average American consumes enough processed food and vegetable oils that the ratio is more like 1 omega-3 to every 20 omega-6s.
The result of this imbalance is inflammation.
We can help equalize that ratio by supplementing with omega-3s from fish oil.
Aside from that, omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important supplements many of us can take for overall health and wellness. They’re needed for the creation and repair of every cell in the body, among a host of other things.
Note: If you suffer from the infamous “fish burps” from fish oil, it’s often because the product is either spoiled or was not properly filtered.
Whenever possible, buy supplements from companies who have their products tested for quality by an independent 3rd party.
2. Turmeric / Curcumin
The compound in turmeric known for its many health benefits is called curcumin.
Curcumin has been the subject of thousands of research papers over the years.
Research has proven curcumin to be helpful for many symptoms and health conditions, but it’s recognized most for its anti-inflammatory properties.
This is also a supplement I take every day, not necessarily for a specific health problem, but merely because I’m convinced of its usefulness.
I have a lot of faith in Terry Naturally vitamins, so I prefer their line of curcumin supplements.
I include this one because of my personal experience with it.
Also known as Indian frankincense, boswellia is an herbal extract well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
A few years ago, I developed pain in both shoulders from two decades in chiropractic practice and years of strenuous workout routines.
I told a representative from Terry Naturally about my problem one day, and he recommended a product called Bosmed 500 Extra Strength.
The pain in my left shoulder was gone by the time I finished the first box.
Furthermore, the pain in my right shoulder had diminished about 50%, so I can personally verify the effectiveness of Boswellia among natural anti-inflammatories.
Terry Naturally also makes one of the few products that contains both curcumin and boswellia called Bosmed Joint Comfort. I’ve used this one as well with good results.
Why Might Natural Anti-Inflammatories Not Work?
It’s worth mentioning that natural anti-inflammatories and other supplements for pain do not work like drugs.
For this reason, results can take days or weeks. Not to mention, some people might not notice any change at all.
I’ll use my omega-3 example from earlier to illustrate.
As I outlined, too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s can cause inflammation in the body.
Consuming more omega-3s in food or supplements then should reduce the deficiency and decrease inflammation.
There are many reasons why someone might have inflammation, however.
An injury, infection, immune reaction, food allergies, joint degeneration, etc., are additional reasons why someone could be suffering from inflammatory pain.
In these cases, the inflammation is an intelligent thing and might not be reduced from taking a supplement.
This is why supplements work for some people and not others. The body may or may not use the nutrients at all. And if it does, it may not be for what WE want.
Pain is often the result of inflammation, so the same supplements used as natural anti-inflammatories might also be worth trying for pain relief.