Whether you swing a pickaxe or peck away at a keyboard, you know the feeling of pain from overexertion. Stiff fingers and wrists, aching shoulders and backs. They’re all part of your everyday experience. And that’s before you clock out and get busy with your real passions. Even the fun stuff like running, intense gym workouts, flowing singletrack on your mountain bike, or just walking 18 holes can leave your muscles and joints sore, too.
You can keep a lid on the pain and inflammation by taking over-the-counter pain meds, but you don’t know whether a steady diet of these products is worth the cost of the side effects they’ll bring with them, making natural solutions to tamp down inflammation in your muscles and body pretty appealing.
But, what’s the best natural anti-inflammatory supplement to use?
What is Inflammation?
You may have heard a lot about inflammation in your body, and seen many mentions of anti-inflammatories. But what exactly are we talking about when we discuss inflammation, and how does it affect you? Should you be concerned about inflammation in your body?
Inflammation is a normal response by your body to an injury. It’s why your skin turns red and you experience swelling when you sprain an ankle. While that looks bad, it’s caused by a host of white blood cells rushing in to repair the damage, so inflammation is generally pretty good when it comes to responding to injuries.
What you should worry about are inflammatory responses that are caused by other factors, such as stress, obesity, or even overtraining. These inflammatory responses can lead to a host of health problems, or at the very least, impede your performance, and make you sore, tired, and sluggish. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough rest is one way of tackling these problems, but taking an anti-inflammatory supplement regularly can also help you manage the daily aches and pains, soreness, and swelling that your lifestyle and strenuous activities may cause.
Some Potent Natural Anti-Inflammatories
Before we crown a champion as the best natural anti-inflammatory supplement, let’s examine some contenders from the field.
This golden spice is associated not only with South Asian cuisine, but also with traditional medicine, particularly Ayurveda, the traditional Indian practice of herbal medicine. The uses for turmeric in traditional practice include aiding in digestion, soothing the nervous system, boosting the immune system, improving joint mobility, and easing the pain of sore, overexerted muscles.
It’s the curcumin in turmeric that actually does the heavy lifting. Curcumin has been extensively tested for its anti-inflammatory capabilities, and is widely known for its ability to soothe inside and out.
If you’re an athlete, you’ll appreciate that Runner’s World reported on a study that tested the effects of turmeric on post-workout muscle soreness. In the study, subjects were given either curcumin or a placebo after a workout that was designed to induce muscle pain. Those taking the curcumin supplement reported less post-workout pain.
To get the full effect of turmeric’s benefits, you should look for supplements that contain the highest quality, most effective extracts. Turmacin is a water-soluble compound derived from turmeric that provides all the benefits you want, with a bioavailability that really lets your body reap those benefits. It’s clinically-tested for efficacy and produced without solvents or unwanted chemicals. You’ll find Turmacin in ASYSTEM’s Radical Relief pain relief supplement.
CBD is a hot product. The number of uses for this hemp-derived product is increasing, and supplements containing CBD include oral and topical oils, creams and salves, and much more. Advocates for CBD promote its use as both an internal and external anti-inflammatory, as well as for its benefits for overall wellness such as its strong antioxidant concentration. Some even recommend it as the perfect supplement for your dog!
More relevant to users who suffer from joint pain was a 2017 study testing CBD on rats with joint overexertion. Inflammation in the joints was reduced over the course of two weeks by the application of topical CBD oil.
Eating fish as a regular part of your diet is a good choice, and taking fish oil supplements can have a lot of positive effects as well if you’re not the biggest fan of sushi or baked salmon. Fish oils are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vital to a smoothly functioning body.
One of the primary omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil is linked to anti-inflammatory effects. DHA has been linked to decreases in muscle inflammation and soreness after exercise. In one study, DHA supplementation significantly reduced inflammatory markers present after vigorous exercise.
This spice has a lot of well-recognized uses, besides adding a pungently sweet and spicy aroma and taste to foods and drinks. Ginger is often used for nausea, mild indigestion, and to combat the effects of seasickness.
Two of the component ingredients of ginger, gingerol, and zingerone, are thought to have the potential to reduce the inflammation associated with the GI tract as well as throughout the body.
What do blueberries, red wine, and peanuts all have in common? They’re all sources of resveratrol, a natural antioxidant. There’s evidence this substance may have promising anti-inflammatory properties.
In one study, overweight people who took resveratrol supplements showed reductions in inflammation while taking resveratrol.
If you’re intrigued about the health effects of resveratrol in red wine, don’t get too excited — the actual amount is fairly small. And a quick caution: resveratrol is not recommended for people taking blood-thinning medicines.
What is spirulina? Actually, it’s a form of algae, but don’t worry, spirulina is good for you! A form of blue-green algae, spirulina packs a nutritional punch. It’s high in protein and vitamin content, and is often used as a nutritional supplement by vegans and vegetarians. Spirulina also has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties too.
The majority of studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of spirulina have been on animals, but a study tracing its effects on elderly men and women showed improvement in inflammation. Another study on people with diabetes showed decreases in the level of MDA, an inflammation marker, after using spirulina for 12 weeks.
Use Supplements Wisely
Whatever supplements you consider using, it’s a smart idea to check in with your health professional first. They may be able to suggest the best ways to implement specific supplements into your routine based on your own health history. And, most importantly, they can advise you on whether there are any potential negative interactions with your current medications.
And the Winner Is...
Based on its long history as a natural remedy and the number of studies that have examined the anti-inflammatory properties of the active ingredient, curcumin, the clear winner in our competition is turmeric!
That being said, not all turmeric is created equal. When shopping for turmeric supplements, you’ll have hundreds of products to pick from. Consider going with a supplement that’s been rigorously tested for purity and efficacy, like ASYSTEM’s Radical Relief supplements, which uses the highest concentration of turmeric extract available in a form that is easily absorbed and used by your body! So check out ASYSTEM’s all natural supplements so you can knock down inflammation and pain and get back in action!