Best Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

middle aged man doing physical activities showing healthy lifestyle

America is known for having extremely high levels of chronic inflammation – mostly caused by poor diet, demanding physical activity, and widespread obesity.

We’re not talking about the inflammation that occurs when you sprain an ankle or bump your head, but more of the low level, consistent inflammation that deteriorates the brain, heart, and immune system, that leads to a number of diseases.

Certain types of cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and strokes are all linked to inflammation.

Few people realize the danger inflammation can cause over time.

Often, people suffering from long term back pain (or other pain) are dealing with low level inflammation that simply wont go away. This leads to cellular deterioration, causing pain itself or prolonging the recovery from an injury.

Bodybuilders often use anti-inflammatories to aid their muscles in faster recovery.

There are things that we can do to lower the amount of inflammation we experience.

Common drugs (clinically referred to as NSAIDS – non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) used for their anti-inflammatory benefits include aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve, and Celebrex (and many more).

Luckily, one of the best ways to curb inflammation is by changing your diet and supplementing with specific anti-inflammatory nutritional products.

Eating or supplementing with anti-inflammatories is one of the best ways to prevent or hedge against harmful age related diseases.

Best Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

The following list, in order of our favorites based on available scientific research and clinical studies, contains the leading anti-inflammatory supplements available for purchase.

Note. Many of the studies conducted on the below listed supplements were studied with the intent of disease treatment, not for general anti-inflammatory properties (as mentioned earlier in this article, inhibiting or limiting inflammation reduces risk of diseases). When you read the details, the supplements are successful in disease treatment because of reduced inflammation.

1. Curcumin (Turmeric)

Curcumin is a component of the popular spice turmeric (yellowish powder used in many Indian and Thai curries). It is one of our favorite super supplements that does wonders for the body.

Studies show a decrease in disease states that result in inflammation.

A study containing 100 middle aged subjects with osteoarthritis showed effective reduction in inflammation and reduced symptoms of the disease over 8 months, with the use of 1000 mg curcumin daily (500 mg 2 times daily). [1]

Another study with subjects taking 500 mg turmeric (22.1 mg curcumin) 3 times daily showed noticeable reduction of inflammation in kidney tissue. [2]
Studies utilizing as much as 8000 mg’s daily have shown there to be no toxicity from curcumin.

anti-inflammatory comparison graph from curcumin use vs placeboIn otherwise healthy adults with no conflicting medication or medical conditions, curcumin is considered very safe.

This graphic shows reduced markers of inflammation in the brain over a 7 day period.

Find out which is the best curcumin brand here.

2. Krill Oil (omega-3)

You’ve probably heard of the amazing benefits of fish oil, and krill oil is very similar. Like fish oil, krill oil contains the two fatty acids EPA and DHA.

The major difference between fish and krill is that the fatty acids come in the form of a phospholipid, making it substitutionally more bioavailable (better absorption). In essence, you absorb more of the healthy fatty acids with krill than with standard fish oil.

A double blind study back in 2007 containing 90 subjects with rheumatoid arthritis and or osteoarthritis showed that after just 14 days of 300 mg krill oil supplementation, patience experienced a 29.7% decrease in inflammation compared to 32.1% increase for the placebo group. [3]

In another study, rats with rheumatoid arthritis were evaluated to compare krill vs fish oil. The study confirmed that krill had a more dramatic effect on the decrease of inflammation when compared to standard fish oil. [4]

Additional studies have been conducted on the benefit of omega-3 supplements for reducing inflammation in obese subjects. Obese individuals have a greater level of chronic inflammation and therefor benefit greatly from anti-inflammatories.

Supplementing with 300-500mg krill oil a day seems to be the sweet spot for reducing inflammation.

The benefits to krill oil supplementation extend beyond its anti-inflammatory properties. Learn more about krill oil here.

3. Resveratrol

A molecule found in relatively high dosages in wine, resveratrol has a number of interesting health benefits. It has been hailed as a possible anti-aging wonder, but studies in all but insects, seem to be lacking in conclusive evidence.

Resveratrol has been shown to suppress harmful gene responses spurred by inflammation and is being evaluated for pharmaceutical drug replacement. [5]

A study conducted on patiences with ulcerative colitis found that after 6 weeks of supplementing with resveratrol at the upper RDV (recommended daily value) of 500 mg, patients had improved quality of life by way of reduced markers of inflammation. [6]

Many doctors and research specialists have indicated preference to resveratrol over popular NSAIDS such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.

4. ALA (Alpha-Lipoic Acid)

ALA is a fatty acid, potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that plays an important role energy metabolism.

ALA is commonly used by life extension enthusiasts as a way of combating oxidative stress incurred by aging.

In a 2011 study on rats, ALA was shown to effectively reduce chronic and acute inflammation, as well as offer a strong antioxidant effect on linoleum acid oxidation. [7]

Many European countries count ALA as a registered drug for the treatment of diabetes related health issues.

Additionally, ALA is often used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis for its ability to decrease inflammation and boost neuroprotection. Studies show that the reduced inflammation in signaling pathways improved neural communication. [8]

5. Green Tea (EGCG)

The main health boosting and longevity component of green tea is the polyphenol EGCG. It has been shown to help people lose weight, fight cancer (in vitro), and lower cholesterol.

EGCG primarily offers all these benefits through its ability to combat oxidative stress and its strong anti-inflammatory properties. [9]

Green tea has also been shown to reduce inflammation at point of injury as well as from certain common carcinogens. It does so by inhibiting iNOS and regulating pro inflammatory cytokines, effectively providing cellular protection. [10]

It is believed that ECGC has low bioavalibilty and should be stacked with fatty acids (like omega-3’s) for improved absorption.

6. Garlic

The tasty flavoring vegetable is a staple in most chef’s kitchens, but little do people know, it actually is a powerful healing herb and prophylactic (substance intended to prevent disease) supplement.

Garlic has been shown to be effective in increasing good cholesterol (HDL), lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), lowering blood pressure, decreasing the duration of the common cold, decreasing DNA damage, increasing nitric oxide, and a host of other benefits.

Most pertinent to us in this article, is of course its anti-inflammatory benefits.

A study conducted on 42 women taking a 400mg garlic supplement showed a TNF-a reduced by 38.7%. TNF-a is a cell signaling molecule that supports inflammation (not good). [16]

Another study focusing primarily on garlics ability to treat bowel disease, showed garlics ability to reduce inflammatory cytokines (substances that effect other cells), effectively reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by way of reduced inflammation. [17]

7. Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is commonly drank as a stimulant based tea, primarily in South American and the Middle East. It has shown promising in reducing LDL cholesterol by as little as 20 days of consistent consumption – benefiting the heart and cardiovascular system.

This is primarily achieved through its ability to reduce chronic inflammation. Studies done on a cellular level show that yerba mate reduces inflammation and typical inflammation responses.

Most studies of the tea are conducted to evaluate the effects it has on obesity. Obesity often causes increased levels of inflammation, causing joint discomfort and increasing the risk of other health issues and diseases. [18]

A study conducted in 2013 and published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry showed that yerba mate extract was useful in reducing obesity derived inflammation. [19]

8. Spirulina

Often used by vegetarians for its high protein content, spirulina also contains about 1% phycocyanobilin – a compound that inhibits NADPH oxidase and acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

A study published in the Journal of Function Foods showed that spirulina significantly inhibited the release of histamine, an inflammatory chemical agent within the body. [20]

A survey study showed that many people use herbal or green supplements for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, an allergy reaction of inflammation. The most commonly used supplemented reported as effective by over 230 patients was spirulina. [21]

A number of animal studies consistently show the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of spirulina supplementation, however, human clinical studies are slim – most likely do to funding.

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What anti-inflammatory supplements have we missed? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Interested in a part 2 of this article where we cover anti-inflammatory foods? Let us know in the comments below!

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