Reducing Joint Pain and Inflammation

Pain and inflammation is a growing problem facing an increasing number of Americans. Whether the pain is a result of arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, injuries or sports training – inflammation is at the root of the problem. Therefore if we can reduce the inflammation we can reduce the pain and this can all be done in a natural way with proper diet and supplementation.

Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, such as Aleve, Motrin, and other Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) work by reducing inflammation in the body. Unfortunately they also irritate the intestinal lining, which creates a vicious cycle, because an irritated intestinal system only further exaggerates the inflammation in your body. Cox-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrax were marketed as the only NSAID that didn’t irritate the intestinal lining, unfortunately that wasn’t true. They also increased the risk of cardiovascular disease to the point that many people died and have had serious cardiac complications.

Our Personal Pharmacy

Drug manufacturers recognize the whole principle of reducing inflammation to reduce arthritis, fibromyalgia and joint pain. Unfortunately they can’t reduce the inflammation without the negative side effect. This is where diet comes into play, because the good Lord designed our body with the ability to make the same little drugs we spend money on at the local pharmacy.

The foods we eat can have a tremendous effect on how our body responds to inflammation, because the foods we eat will either trigger our body to produce more or less inflammation. Saturated fats trigger our body to produce more inflammation! Monounsaturated fats, the omega-3’s, the fish oils trigger more of those coveted anti-inflammatory chemicals that we spend millions of dollars on at the pharmacy. The only question is which foods do we eat more of?

Americans are eating more processed, fast foods that are loaded with saturated and trans fatty acids, as well as, more dairy, chicken and beef. This increases the amount of inflammation in our body. It is when we eat more nuts, seeds, fish and cook with olive oil that we produce more of our own natural anti-inflammatory chemicals that reduce inflammation. This is why our diet can be very helpful for those suffer with arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, injuries and sports injuries.

If you eat more saturated fats and not enough monounsaturated fats you need to supplement your diet with a good fish oil to help balance the ratio of saturated to monounsaturated fats. This will help decrease the inflammation in your body. Typically 1-2 grams of EPA/DHA should be taken daily. The big benefit of fish oils is that not only will they help reduce inflammation, but they have shown significant benefit for those suffer from PMS, hot flashes, heart disease, depression, and ADD/ADHD.

Asides from eating more monounsaturated fats and taking additional fish oils, there are other foods such as chili peppers, and pineapples, which work as “proteolytic” enzymes that breakdown the inflammation molecules. Proteolytic enzymes work differently than fish oils. They reduce the inflammation by breaking down the inflammatory molecules, whereas fish oils reduce the amount of inflammation.

Ginger, boswellia and tumeric are herbs that reduce the inflammation process. In fact, boswellia is better known as the incense frankincense in some parts of the world. These three spices can be used in cooking or as a daily supplement.

Other sources of Inflammation

Inflammation can come from many sources asides from our joints. Inflammation is also a natural response by our immune system that protects us from bacteria, viruses, allergens, yeast overgrowth and other foreign invaders. Obesity and excess adipose tissue will also trigger the release of additional inflammatory complexes into our body. Yet the greatest source of inflammation for most Americans comes from out digestive system.

There are millions of people who constantly struggle with bloating, indigestion, heartburn and other irritable bowel like problems who are constantly irritating their digestive system and triggers additional inflammation. This daily assault of inflammation in their digestive system, plus the inflammation from your joints and an overworked immune system and excess weight can easily exceed the amount of inflammation your body can effectively handle. This is why repairing your digestive system is critical in helping those who struggle with joint pain.

It doesn’t matter where the inflammation comes from. The only question is can your body produce enough natural anti-inflammatory chemicals or molecules to counteract all the inflammation that is occurring in the body.

Simple Steps to follow

A complete protocol for overcoming joint pain and inflammation is to attack the problem from both ends. Decrease the amount of saturated and trans fats. Increase the amount of monounsaturated fats. This will reduce the amount of inflammation. Add proteolytic enzymes to breakdown whatever inflammation that is NOT controlled by the fish oils and monounsaturated fats. This two step approach has worked wonders on all those suffering from pain due to inflammation. FYI…proteolytic enzymes are great for allergies, sinusitis and sports injuries and training.

Most importantly repair your digestive system…look at adding digestive enzymes, identify and remove ‘hidden’ food allergies, and combine your foods properly. I’ve found that when I reduced the irritation and inflammation from my patients tummy, their pain subsided considerably. This is simply because we reduced the total amount of inflammation floating around in their body. It’s simple, effective and most of all natural.

Dr. Len Lopez is the author of “To Burn or Not to Burn, Fat is the Question” and hosts the radio show “Action Steps for Health. He is a nutrition and fitness expert and speaks extensively on how to “treat the cause – not the symptoms. To learn more about health and healing take the “online health quizzes” or sign up to receive his weekly health journal Health Tips with Dr. Len.