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Inflammation seems like such a benign and common symptom, doesn’t it? You bang your knee, and it swells up — a result of your immune system trying to heal the injury. But in truth, that same inflammatory response can run amok and just as easily do more damage. Still, few people realize that knowing how to reduce inflammation can have a huge impact on their health
It reminds me of the saying “Give it an inch and it’ll take a mile.” Because once it takes hold — which is easy because it’s fueled by stress, sleep loss, sugar, pollution and countless other modern-day threats — it can completely wreck your health.
Inflammation can even be the deciding factor in whether you experience a severe case of COVID-19, thanks to the virus’s ability to kick up a cytokine storm capable of destroying your body’s organs and clotting your blood.
Sure, you can pop over-the-counter anti-inflammatories every day, or even stronger prescription meds. But that doesn’t sound like something that goes hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle to me — especially considering the side effects. Those meds in people with arthritis have been tied to heart problems.
Curbing inflammation doesn’t require handfuls of pills daily. So, let’s talk about healthier ways to fight this unifying theory of disease…
Exercise renders Pro-inflammatory molecules powerless
Thanks to research from biomedical engineers at Duke University, we know that exercise could be one of the simplest, drug-free ways to combat disease-causing inflammation.
Here’s how they proved it…
They created lab-grown muscle (a first-of-its-kind endeavor) that perfectly simulates the muscles in the human body. This way they were able to see exactly what happens to muscle when inflammation is kicked off in the body — and how things change when you start moving them.
The team flooded that lab-grown muscle with a pro-inflammatory molecule known as interferon-gamma, which causes such severe inflammation that it leads to muscle wasting and dysfunction. It’s also the inflammatory molecule at the heart of a COVID-induced cytokine storm — just so you know how powerful it is.
Sure enough, during that experiment, the lab-grown muscle got smaller and smaller and became weak.
Next, the researchers applied interferon-gamma again, but this time they also put the muscle through an exercise regime by stimulating it with a pair of electrodes.
Not only did the muscle grow and get stronger, but it appeared immune to the effects of the chronic inflammation that the molecule otherwise would have caused.
“When exercising, the muscle cells themselves were directly opposing the pro-inflammatory signal induced by interferon-gamma, which we did not expect to happen,” said Nenad Bursac, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke.
That makes just moving your muscles not only a powerful way, but an easy way to combat inflammation.
More tips on how to reduce inflammation
Even if you are not up to heavy-duty exercise, small amounts of exercise each day, like taking a walk, doing household chores or working in your garden could help make an impact on your body’s level of inflammation.
But considering the damage the inflammation abomination is well-known for, it’s a good idea to add inflammation-fighting nutrients to your daily diet. Some of the best include:
The omega-3s found in fish oil have been shown to help reduce the levels of inflammatory molecules in the body. And studies have linked higher intake of omega-3s to lower levels of inflammation.
Another supplement that is believed to play a role in modulating inflammation and immune cells is vitamin D.
This is a supplement many people have never heard of, yet it’s one of the most important ones available for providing inflammatory support.
The black cumin seed’s two most potent active ingredients are thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone, which act as immuno-modulators to help calm inflammation and even help prevent the activation of pain triggers throughout your entire body.
Turmeric is a 4,000-year-old Indian herb that has been researched for its ability to modulate the NF-kb switch, the master regulator that signals and turns the body’s inflammatory response on and off. This helps ensure that your inflammation kicks into gear when you need it, like when you’re injured, but doesn’t keep running when the threat is gone.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “ginger extract and gingerol-enriched extract were each reported to exhibit analgesic and potent anti-inflammatory effects.” It’s very popular among people who suffer from inflammatory conditions that affect the gut.
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Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span — nature medicine
Exercising muscle combats chronic inflammation on its own — ScienceDaily