Think of your body's inflammation response like the process of an oyster creating a pearl: In response to an irritant, the oyster forms a protective barrier against the irritant to keep it from doing harm to the rest of its body. In much the same way, inflammation is the human body's response to issues such as toxins in the air, food allergens or damaged cells; the inflammatory response works to eliminate the problem before it can go any further.
But chronic inflammation is a different story; poor diet, stress, repeated injuries and too many free radicals can turn inflammation into a destructive cycle that breaks down cells and speeds up aging. The inflammatory response runs around the body trying to attack all of the irritants it finds, keeping the body in a constant state of flux. And stress will often cause spikes of cortisol, a hormone that the body uses to instigate inflammation.
The result is that other, healthy organs suffer, in turn creating more inflammatory responses, and causing chronic pain such as migraines and arthritis or even more serious diseases.
To find out more about calming the body and treating inflammation, we spoke with herbalists Barbara Rossman at our South Boulder store and Cat Pantaleo in downtown Boulder.
"A lot of times inflammation starts with the digestive tract," says Barbara. "If the body isn't absorbing a nutrient properly, the problem can spread and start affecting the rest of the body." Inflammation is most often linked to nutrient deficiencies, which can be most effectively combated with a diet low in processed foods, including lots of whole fruits and vegetables and a solid multi-vitamin. Cat also recommends a probiotic to support digestive health.
Both practitioners recommended turmeric, an herb that helps support your body's anti-inflammatory response. Turmeric, which can be found in New Chapter's Turmeric Force or Zyflamend formulas, is being researched for its anti-cancer properties as well, and for its ability to protect cells from oxidation. Barbara also pointed to Natural Factors Turmeric & Bromelain, which can help normalize digestion, support the intestines and serve as an antioxidant to help stabilize inflammation-damaged membranes. And Cat loves Natura's Inflamaway, which contains enzymes that can help decrease inflammation that has been associated with heart problems.
For joint-specific inflammation, Barbara says she often recommends a combination formula like Pharmaca's MSM with Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfates. "This can help slow down the joint breakdown process," she says. By supplementing with these nutrients, she says, "You can take fewer pain relievers and prolong the time until surgery becomes a necessity, which is always a good thing."
Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Our practitioners can help you find relief from chronic pain and inflammation.