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Combating inflammation in 4 steps

Turmeric

I have mentioned before but cannot stress enough: turmeric is not panacea, but it's very very close. There are numerous benefits of turmeric, from tumor reduction to dental health. However, anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are powerful and tested numerous times against placebo.

It is a pillar in combating inflammation and has helped myself with pseudo-arthritis symptoms (caused by Proteus mirabilis infection) and my mother (suffering from arthritis) drop our CRP (C-Reactive Protein, a key inflammation marker) levels within a month. My mother's regime included 750mg of turmeric twice daily with black pepper extract (for optimal curcumin absorption from the turmeric) and the CRP levels dropped from 31 to 8 within a month.

Cat's claw

Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis commonly referred to as "Cat's claw" because of it's shape, has been shown to reduce pain and swelling of joints. It has been tested on humans against placebo, significantly reducing pain, discomfort and inflammation in osteoarthritis patients over the course of 4 weeks.

The mechanism is not clear yet, however there are measurable effects on PGE2 (Prostaglandin E2) and TNFa (Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha), as Cat's Claw reduces both, therefore showing a possible mechanism of action. Cat's Claw can be found in extract form as well as powdered form and can be consumed as tea. 

Ice, ice, bathing

First of all, "google" the name "Wim Hof". Read everything about him, including his book "The Wim Hof Method". A living example that we can tap into our autonomic nervous system (so, not really autonomic now, is it?) and affect our health through ice baths and cold exposure (and of course, breath-work as I mentioned in previous posts, e.g. meditation).

Leaving Wim aside, studies conducted in acute gouty arthritis patients, as well as patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, suggest that local ice application has significant effects on pain and inflammation.

However, the duration of ice application is important as prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures can cause skin "burns" and also affect patients with uncontrolled blood pressure or heart disease. Always check with your doctor before trying ice therapy, even if applied locally.

Stress management

Need I say more? Physiological stress is something that many people can control (i.e. not over-exercise, avoid extreme temperatures etc), but psychological stress is one of 21st century's major health conditions. Stress elevates cortisol levels and when cortisol levels remain high for an extended period of time, inflammation kicks in and ongoing inflammation may worsen. Chronic stress has been linked to inflammation, insomnia, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and more.

Meditation, yoga practice and spending time in nature have been shown to reduce cortisol levels in the blood, i.e. helping you fight back against that inflammation that gives you pain.

Disclaimer: As always, I am not a medical doctor. Always consult your physician, doctor, GP before following any of my advice.

Stay happy and healthy!

 

References:

http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/17/3/344.short

http://www.jrheum.org/content/29/2/331.short

http://www.jci.org/articles/view/25102

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2009-13365-000/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/030438359503913H

https://arizona.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/translational-investigation-of-turmeric-for-arthritis-treatment-a

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S094471130470121X

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/PL00000268