Chronic inflammation is insidious. You don’t feel it developing until it causes a full-blown disease. In fact, underlying chronic inflammatory conditions are one of the number one contributors to chronic disease and death alike. This is because inflammation damages the body at the cellular level. In this article, you will discover the top 7 strategies to support chronic inflammation.
This means everything that relies on cellular health and normal cell function is suddenly inhibited. As you can see, this process can impact the entire body and create disease in many ways. Luckily, there are great strategies to heal chronic inflammation and the conditions associated with it.
I deal with people all the time who have illnesses or health challenges that they’ve been facing for a long time with no promise of getting better. Once we take a look at their inflammatory markers, we see they are intensely inflamed. While there are typically other factors to be addressed, addressing underlying inflammation is reliably the number one strategy for helping someone begin to overcome a chronic health challenge.
Inflammation is a very generalized term. Inflammation is typically an immune response mechanism. When the body notices that an area of the body needs some attention from the immune system, inflammatory substances are released in the area that draw attention to that area. This is what happens when you cut your skin for example.
Another primary cause of inflammation is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress emerges due to several factors. Some of the main contributors are poor diet, emotional stress, electromagnetic radiation (phones, Wi-Fi, etc.), as well as many others. Understanding how these things influence your health is the first step to stacking them in favor of your health.
Chronic Inflammation & Disease
Chronic inflammation, as mentioned above, can be brought on by a wide range of causes. Chronic inflammatory conditions are extremely prominent in our society and they include things like:
- Heart Disease
- Neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s, MS, etc.)
- Metabolic Disorders (Obesity, Diabetes)
- … and many, many others
Too much inflammation lowers your body’s ability to function at a cellular level, which is why it can contribute to so many conditions. Mitigating this inflammation is the first step to overcoming any of these conditions. While there are other factors to consider, mitigating inflammation powerfully supports the body to get into a healing state where many health challenges can be overcome.
7 Strategies To Lower Inflammation
One of the best ways to measure and track your inflammation levels is our Complete Thyroid Panel which actually looks at a variety of inflammatory markers. However, if you are dealing with a chronic disease or health condition, underlying inflammation almost certainly a factor in getting healthy.
These 7 strategies are absolutely critical to recovering from a chronic inflammatory condition. They work to mitigate inflammation from many different angles. I have found that it is not enough to simply take a turmeric supplement or use a fish oil as these only address one aspect of inflammation. These are helpful, however targeting the underlying causes of inflammation while employing other advanced strategies get the best results.
Anti-Inflammatory, Healing Diet
The diet is a great place to start. In today’s society, we have quite an abundance of foods on the market that are extremely questionable. You will want to revert back to consuming foods that are as close to their natural forms as possible. As a few general guidelines, you will want to:
- Cut sugars & grains from the diet
- Eliminate processed vegetable oils (Focus on healthy fats)
- Increase your intake of organic, low-glycemic vegetables
- Only consume grass-fed and pasture-raised meats
- Focus on supporting fat metabolism by following a ketogenic-style diet
Converting to a low-carb, high fat (or ketogenic) diet has consistently shown to improve metabolism and lower inflammatory markers in the body. This is likely because of the relationship between glucose metabolism and chronic inflammation pathways (1).
By converting the body into a fat-burning state via a ketogenic diet, there are additional anti-inflammatory benefits to be gained. It turns out that by becoming fat-adapted and increasing ketone levels in the body, there is a drastic decrease in inflammation, particularly in the brain tissues (2). By creating an emphasis on nutrient-rich vegetables, herbs, spices, and healthy fats, you take these benefits a step further.
Reduce Exposure to Toxins
Our food supply is high in toxins due to the widespread adoption of pesticides, genetically-modified crops, and runoff from industrialization. While it is pretty difficult to eliminate toxin exposure completely. There are ways of mitigating exposure so that the toxic load on your body is much lower.
First of all, following an anti-inflammatory diet as mentioned above naturally cuts out many of the toxin-filled foods in our society. Focusing on organic produce, pasture-raised meats, and healthy fats is key.
The next important source to look is your water supply. In today’s day and age, tap water just doesn’t cut it. Most municipal water supplies contain chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and even residues from pharmaceutical drugs. For my tips on getting the cleanest water, read my article here.
Finally, there are chemicals that we need to reduce our exposure to that come from everyday household items like soaps, cosmetic products, cleaning agents. Etc. I address these topics in Natural Homemade Cleaning Products and Choosing Safe Beauty and Hygiene Products.
More on Toxins
Toxins that we ingest through our food and environment generally have 2 fates. Either our bodies are equipped to effectively eliminate them or they become trapped inside our tissues. As your exposure to toxins increases, the burden on your liver grows and more toxins tend to become stored rather than eliminated.
Many of these toxins have a particularly high affinity for becoming stored in body fat. If you have excessive body fat, burning that off via a ketogenic diet and adequate physical activity can go a long way.
Additionally, there are a number of advanced strategies you can employ on a daily basis in order to effectively eliminate any stored toxins in your body. These include things like using a sauna, super hydration, and using detoxifying supplements. Click the image below to read more about how to detoxify your body on a daily basis.
It is so important to drink a lot of water in order to flush out toxins and help the body to produce cellular energy. I tell my clients they need to “pee their way to good health!” This is because urination is one of the major ways the body eliminates inflammatory waste and environmental toxins.
Be sure to drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 150 pounds than that means a minimum of 75 ounces of water should be consumed each day. To heal faster, I recommend getting closer to a full ounce per pound of body weight…so that would be 150 ounces for a 150 lb individual.
Be sure to drink this away from meals so you don’t compromise your stomach acid and digestive processes. I typically stop drinking about 30 minutes before a meal and will pick up my hydration about 60-90 minutes after my meal.
Eliminate Food Sensitivities, Heal the Gut
Growing up we all hear about food allergies. You may even have one. This is where eating a certain food, such as wheat or peanuts, causes an outright and obvious negative reaction in the body. These can be immediately life threatening.
You may go your entire life, however, having a food sensitivity and not know it. This is when consuming a food creates a subtle inflammatory response in the body. Consuming these on a regular basis contributes to a state of chronic inflammation in the gut and eventually the rest of the body. Testing for your own, following an elimination diet, or using the strategies in this article can help to reduce this inflammatory reaction in the body.
Address Micronutrient Deficiencies
Your body contains an unthinkable number of biochemical processes that are always occurring whether you know it or not. These processes require certain nutrients in order to complete properly. Everything from hormone balance to immune system function depends on certain nutrients being present in the body.
Testing for your own deficiencies and addressing them can go a long way in mitigating chronic inflammation. Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies I encounter include, magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin D, Omega 3 Fats, B Vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
Following a healing diet is a powerful first step for improving your micronutrient intake. Using targeted supplementation or a high-quality multivitamin should be considered as well.
Getting regular exercise and physical activity are important for lowering inflammation. If you are physically stagnant, you become stagnant internally. You need to move in order to circulate lymph fluid, boost cardiovascular circulation, increase respiration, and increase the expulsion of toxins.
Having a healthy posture, proper breathing mechanics, and a balanced muscular structure will reduce stress on the body and improve oxygenation of tissues. Take this into account when deciding on a workout structure to incorporate.
Another great strategy is to see a chiropractor to address any spinal misalignments that may be contributing to nervous system dysfunctions. In fact, chiropractic adjustments have been shown to improve anti-oxidant production and lower inflammation in the body specifically (4).
Reduce Emotional Stress
Emotional and mental stress is actually a massive contributor to oxidative stress and inflammation. This inflammation largely manifests itself in the neurological tissues and has a profound negative impact on mood and behavior, which could easily turn into a self-perpetuating cycle (5). Resolving emotional stressors is absolutely vital to mitigating inflammation as much as possible.
Additionally, you want to instill peace within yourself to prevent chronic inflammation from recurring do to emotional stress. This can be done through daily practice of gratitude and by becoming comfortable with making necessary changes in your life needed to reach optimal health.
There is typically not a one-step solution to solving your health problems, as is the case with many things in life. Accepting that achieving health is a process in, and that this process requires a bit of temporary discomfort is what will allow you to make breakthroughs in your life.
The lifestyle strategies above are effective for the inflammatory response in the body over time. There are also many great supplements that improve the immune system and inflammatory process. These supplements are not FDA approved at this time to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any major health condition but they can be a great support for the body.
The following act on different mechanisms of inflammation to improve the process and support a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D has the ability to regulate over 1000 different genes in the body (6). This is one of the most common deficiencies I see in inflammatory disorders, especially auto-immunity and cancer.
Vitamin D is specifically an extremely powerful immune modulating nutrient that helps to balance the immune system. Remember, an over or underactive immune response is commonly found in inflammatory disorders so using immune modulating compounds like Vitamin D is critical.
Many health experts agree that the ideal range of Vitamin D in the body is 60-100 ng/ml in the blood, preferably closer to the 80-100 ng/ml range. To achieve this level, 1000-2000 IU of supplemental Vitamin D per 50 lbs. of body weight is a good strategy. Additionally, it is important to take Vitamin D along with Vitamin K as they act together in the body and not doing so can lead to lessened benefit.
Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant that regulates all other antioxidants. At this point, you understand just how important controlling oxidative stress in the body is for mitigating chronic inflammation and glutathione is one of the most powerful ways to do so.
Getting plenty of antioxidants from vegetables, herbs, spices, and even essential oils can be extremely powerful. When it comes to tough cases, using oral glutathione can be an effective way to quickly upregulate antioxidant systems in the body. Alternatively, there are great ways to boost endogenous glutathione production by using natural compounds like curcumin, N-acetyl cysteine, and alpha lipoic acid.
Curcumin is one of the most heavily studied compounds found in one of the most studied herbs on the planet, turmeric. It is believed that curcumin is one of the primary constituents responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects.
When it comes to turmeric supplementation, I am a huge fan of taking supplemental turmeric in a fermented form with other warming digestive supporting and adaptogenic herbs. This is why I use the Organic Turmeric product from Ancient Nutrition. The fermented form of turmeric activates unique compounds and allows for better assimilation of the beneficial curcuminoids.
With a full-spectrum fermented turmeric blend the Ancient Nutrition Organic Turmeric is specially formulated to support healthy joints and mobility as well as a healthy response to inflammation.
Fermented turmeric is a powerful blend of high dose organic turmeric extract, turmeric root and fermented black pepper fruit to help support our ability to adapt to stress. Remember, this supplement is not at this time FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any health condition and shouldn’t be confused as such.
Increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids it is absolutely critical for mitigating chronic inflammation. Most people consume a diet that is high in omega 6 fats while being severely deficient in omega 3. This puts fatty acids at an imbalance in the body that actually favors inflammatory processes. This is because Omega 6 fats are part of the eicosanoid pathway that is responsible for producing inflammatory markers in the body.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet full of healthy fats and wild-caught fish is a great way to quickly lower inflammation. Additionally, you may find it helpful to supplement with a high-quality fish oil in order to favor a healthy omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.
In terms of improving the inflammatory process, I haven’t found anything as effective as Pro Omega CRP. Remember, this supplement is not at this time FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any health condition and shouldn’t be confused as such.
Our bodies use over 3000 enzymes to carry out over 7000 enzymatic processes in the body. Many people don’t realize this but enzymes can even help to break down inflammatory molecules such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), C Reactive Protein (CRP), and Circulating Immune Complex (CIC).
In many cases of chronic inflammation, these inflammatory molecules are circulating in abundance throughout the body. Supplementing with proteolytic enzymes helps to clear these molecules from the body and effectively improve joint health and mobility as well as supporting a healthy immune response. Remember, this supplement is not at this time FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any health condition and shouldn’t be confused as such.
Everyone endures some level of inflammation on a daily basis. As long as this inflammation does not overcome our body’s’ ability to mitigate that inflammation, it is not an issue. Many people today have lost this ability and are falling victim to chronic inflammatory conditions such as auto-immunity, cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and many more conditions.
Luckily, we can improve our quality of life by following an anti-inflammatory lifestyle including the principles mentioned above. Start putting these things into action to support your immune system and promote a healthy inflammatory response.