Anti-inflammatory drugs (typically Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – NSAIDs) have become ubiquitous in our society and most folks don’t think twice about grabbing the bottle and popping a few to help combat pain and soreness. Although I would argue there is a time and place for these drugs, they certainly are not harmless, and they definitely come with side effects. A few of which include: reduced healing time, damage to GI tract and other areas with rapid cell turnover, and reduced muscle development. With prolonged use, you may see kidney, stomach and heart problems, including increased risk of heart-related deaths. For this reason, we suggest much friendlier and often just as effective alternatives to use instead.
Here are my top 5 alternatives to NSAIDs with regards to treating pain and inflammation. Please note: your diet and lifestyle are your best weapons with regards to chronic pain and inflammation. You CANNOT out-supplement a poor diet.
- Curcumin – a compound found naturally occurring in Turmeric. A powerful anti-inflammatory, it works along with your body’s natural anti-inflammatory process to help decrease damage from reactive oxygen species (free radicals). Curcumin aids in decreasing overall inflammation and decreases pain. It may also play a significant role in preventing chronic diseases linked to inflammation such as cancers, diabetes and arthritis. Although you can consume turmeric in your diet, it is not very well absorbed and when suffering acute pain, a supplement may be far more beneficial. There are high quality supplements that aid in the absorption of Curcumin, and although they may cost a little more, it is often worth it.
- Fish Oil – found mainly in cold water fatty fish (tuna/salmon/sardines) and rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, acts on the same enzyme (COX1 and COX2) pathways as your NSAIDs with regards to pain and inflammation. Fish oil is another supplement that can have great benefits when taken routinely and may also be a powerful anti-inflammatory component during acute bouts of stress and/or injury. We suggest 1-2 grams per day (combined EPA/DHA) to help aid in decreasing inflammation. Purity may be an issue with less expensive fish oil supplements, so we suggest a few brands with quality third party testing to back up quality.
- Magnesium – a very important mineral in our diet that plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in our bodies. It is often deficient in our soils and therefore deficient in our diets. Magnesium has been found to play a role with regards to muscle relaxation as well as inflammation. For those of you suffering from muscle spasms with your injury, you may greatly benefit from 400-800mg of high quality magnesium per day. Please look for higher quality forms of Magnesium such as the chelates Glycinate or Threonate. These are much better absorbed and used by your body. I suggest avoiding Magnesium Oxide as this is poorly absorbed and will often cause a nice little laxative effect.
- MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) – an organic bioavailable sulfur that plays a role in cellular waste management. MSM has been found to be very impactful with regards to joint health, especially when paired with glucosamine and chondroitin. The sulfur component also plays a role in healthy collagen formation which leads to better tissue repair following injury.
- Ginger – this root acts on many of the same anti-inflammatory pathways as our friend Curcumin. The best part about Ginger is that it is cheap and easy to get in your diet. You can go to your local grocer and find a big chunk of ginger. I suggest cooking with it, but for more impact, toss it right into your blender and mix into a powerful green smoothie.
Honorable Mention: Quercetin, Boswelia, White Willow Bark, Spirulina and Alpha Lipoic Acid.
If you have any questions regarding specific supplements, please feel free to contact us directly. You may also buy these or other top-quality supplements from this link and have them shipped directly to your home.