7 Best Supplements for Inflammation
Once inflammation becomes chronic, it can have a seriously detrimental impact on your health. So what are the best supplements for inflammation? These supplements that are backed by science may help to significantly reduce chronic inflammation in your body and boost health.
Medically Reviewed by: Yeny Vargas, PharmD, RN
Inflammation is not all bad. The body’s short-term (i.e. acute) inflammatory response is critical in keeping you healthy in response to immediate stressors such as injuries and infections.
This is why, for the most part, your cut is able to heal, and your body is able to fight off infections on its own. However, if inflammation persists, this inevitably increases your risk of health problems and decreases your quality of life.
There are many things that contribute to chronic inflammation. Nevertheless, you have much more control than you may realize over this process.
Most of these helpful strategies are surprisingly simple to apply (yet not always easy to implement).
Some approaches to reduce inflammation and help boost the immune system include:
1. Work with your doctor to manage chronic health conditions
Not surprisingly, chronic diseases have been linked to chronic inflammation. Therefore, managing them well may help lower inflammation as well to improve your overall health and quality of life. Work with your doctor to manage any chronic health conditions that you may already have such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
2. Avoid inflammation-causing foods
Foods such as packaged foods, fried foods, soda, red meat, refined carbohydrates, sugar (yes, even brown sugar), gluten, soy, dairy, and alcohol (remember, alcohol is a sugar) have been linked to chronic inflammation. They should be at least avoided as much as possible.
3. Start eating an anti-inflammatory Diet
This is not some hyped-up fad diet term. There is no “one” anti-inflammatory diet available. Rather, this just refers to not eating inflammation-causing foods (i.e. such as those discussed in #2 above) while instead, switching to eating foods that actually help to reduce inflammation for added health benefits.
Incorporate more whole foods such as berries, kale, whole grains, salmon, and almonds into your diet.
4. Get enough Sleep
Lack of sleep has been linked to inflammatory markers. Try being more intentional about getting enough sleep (7-9 hours) not only to help boost brain health but also for its natural anti-inflammatory effects.
5. Work on managing stress well in your life
When you are under chronic stress, your body constantly feels threatened and responds accordingly. It is very important in reducing inflammation that you take an active role in learning some effective coping mechanisms for things that trigger inflammation and stress in your life. Some strategies to consider here include meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
Research suggests that regular exercise may be effective at reducing chronic inflammation. Exercise helps to fight inflammation and has many other well documented metabolic health benefits (i.e. may help improve blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and excess fat around the waist).
7. Avoid Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins are harmful substances that we may encounter in our daily lives. They include pollutants in the air or chemicals in food and water.
They can significantly contribute to the development of chronic inflammation in the body through several mechanisms such as by causing oxidative stress in the body and by disrupting the balance of gut microbiota. There is also some scientific evidence that environmental toxins may activate inflammatory pathways.
Drink filtered water and try to avoid other environmental toxins as much as possible.
8. Try Supplements
While supplements are not regulated in the same way as prescription medications are, there has been increasing regulation in this field. Supplements may help to fill nutritional gaps in addition to providing many other possible health benefits, including lowering inflammation. The best anti-inflammatory supplements may provide much needed anti-inflammatory benefits that may sometimes be hard to obtain by diet alone.
These are the 7 Best Supplements for inflammation in our opinion.
These natural anti-inflammatory agents are backed by science with research that suggests that they are extremely anti-inflammatory.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your body can’t make omega-3 fatty acids and it should therefore be a priority to obtain them through diet or through fish oil supplements.
Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are definitely worth taking into consideration when evaluating dietary supplements to take that help to reduce inflammation.
There are 3 main omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They are indispensable to good health. They are components of the cell membranes in your body and play essential roles in the body including in the immune system.
Some possible side effects may include bothersome gas, burping, diarrhea, acid reflux, and a fishy taste.
Turmeric is that vibrantly orange spice commonly used to add color and flavor to food. The primary bioactive substance in turmeric is called curcumin, and it has been recognized for its potent medicinal properties for centuries. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Curcumin helps to inhibit the production of molecules that mediate inflammation such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes as well as increasing antioxidant enzymes in the body. In this way it works to reduce inflammation in two compelling ways, making it one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory supplements available on the market today.
The bioavailability of curcumin tends to be very low. For this reason, many people opt to take curcumin supplements. Consuming turmeric with black pepper(which contains piperine). Or, taking a supplement with piperine added to it may help improve its absorption and effectiveness.
It typically doesn’t cause bothersome side effects but some possible effects to watch out for may include stomach upset, nausea, and diarrhea.
3. Green Tea Extract
Tea is the world’s most popular drink, second only to water. And among teas, Green tea is one of the most commonly consumed.
Green tea extract (GTE) is derived from the green tea plant, Camellia sinensis, known for its high antioxidant content and health benefits. It’s especially rich in polyphenols, including a catechin known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is associated with its therapeutic effects.
It is thought to improve several inflammatory conditions such as liver diseases, dermatitis, and diabetes.
Green tea extract supplements are generally considered safe in moderation. Some people may experience side effects such as stomach upset, constipation, or nausea.
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound (i.e. may act as an antioxidant and reduce inflammation) found in several plants, including grapes, blueberries, and peanuts. Celebrated for its antioxidant properties, resveratrol is commonly associated with the health benefits of red wine.
Its anti-inflammatory properties have been linked to alleviating inflammation in diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
Research suggests that resveratrol works like a master switch. It turns off certain parts of our body that can cause swelling and pain (like a faucet controlling water flow). This helps to reduce inflammation.
While it’s usually safe, it can sometimes cause side effects such as upset stomach or nausea. Higher doses may also increase the risk of bleeding. Extra caution should be used in patients taking blood thinning medication such as Warfarin.
Resveratrol supplementation has recently increased in popularity as its benefits in fighting inflammation have come to light.
5. Flavonoids (including Quercetin)
Flavonoids are nature’s own color palette. They are a diverse group of plant compounds found in virtually all fruits and vegetables.
Beyond the allure of their colorful hues, flavonoids possess powerful health benefits. Most notably their potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient. A compound produced by plants that have various health benefits for humans.
They serve a protective role for plants, shielding them against environmental threats like pests or UV radiation. When we consume these plants, we absorb flavonoids into our systems, where they continue their protective roles, including their anti-inflammatory effects.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
Flavonoids come into play by modulating the body’s inflammatory response. They act on a molecular level, inhibiting the production of substances that promote inflammation and suppressing inflammatory pathways.
Through their interactions with various enzymes and signaling pathways in the body, flavonoids exert their anti-inflammatory effects, contributing to overall health and wellbeing.
Consuming a healthy diet rich in flavonoid-containing fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting these potent compounds in your daily routine.
Where necessary, taking a flavonoid supplement may help improve immune function.
Ginger is a fragrant spice with a hint of bite and sweetness. Related to turmeric, it has also been a culinary favorite worldwide for thousands of years.
Known scientifically as Zingiber officinale, it carries a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly for its potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginger is packed with bioactive compounds that produce its health effects. The most notable among these is gingerol. It works to dampen inflammation much like turning down a dial, interfering with the processes that kickstart and perpetuate inflammation in the body.
The anti-inflammatory prowess of ginger is more than folk wisdom; it’s backed by scientific research.
Ginger supplements may have a range of benefits from helping to manage nausea to preventing infections.
7. Vitamin D
Most people don’t think of vitamin D when looking for potent anti-inflammatory supplements. However, did you know that Vitamin D is actually a hormone?
It may be obtained from diet, direct sunlight, or through supplementation. Vitamin D deficiency can be corrected with supplements.
Vitamin D has recently shot up in popularity as its powerful anti-inflammatory effects have become more understood.
Fondly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” it holds a pivotal role in our immune response. Vitamin D is a pro-hormone which means that it transforms into a hormone once inside our bodies.
This hormone, calcitriol, can interact with nearly every cell, communicating with our DNA. Among its messages, it tells genes to switch off the production of inflammation-boosting proteins, reducing the inflammatory response.
It’s clear that nature has gifted us with the arsenal needed to combat chronic inflammation.
In choosing your anti-inflammatory supplements, it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals who can consider your individual needs, help monitor your progress, and steer clear of potential adverse effects or drug interactions. This personalized approach ensures that the supplement you choose aligns with your health goals and complements your overall lifestyle.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that supplements should not replace a balanced diet rich in whole foods. There is no all-in-one anti-inflammatory supplement. The best source of essential nutrients will always be a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Supplements can, however, help fill the gaps or provide an additional boost where needed.
When integrating supplements into your diet, quality is crucial. It’s worth investing in products from reputable brands that prioritize transparency, rigorously test their products, and are clear about their ingredients. After all, the supplements you take are only as good as the quality of their ingredients.
The journey toward better health is a personal one, but it’s a path worth taking. With every step—every Omega-3 capsule, every sprinkle of turmeric, every sip of green tea, every bite of ginger, and every moment in the sunshine—you’re investing in a future of greater well-being. And that’s something worth striving for.
Grabs V, Nieman DC, Haller B, Halle M, Scherr J. The effects of oral hydrolytic enzymes and flavonoids on inflammatory markers and coagulation after marathon running: study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2014 Feb 22;6(1):8. doi: 10.1186/2052-1847-6-8. PMID: 24559067; PMCID: PMC3945524.
Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Dec;21(6):495-505. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2002.10719248. PMID: 12480795.
National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
Houssen ME, Ragab A, Mesbah A, El-Samanoudy AZ, Othman G, Moustafa AF, Badria FA. Natural anti-inflammatory products and leukotriene inhibitors as complementary therapy for bronchial asthma. Clin Biochem. 2010 Jul;43(10-11):887-90. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2010.04.061. Epub 2010 Apr 27. PMID: 20430018.
Rudrapal, M., Eltayeb, W.A., Rakshit, G. et al. Dual synergistic inhibition of COX and LOX by potential chemicals from Indian daily spices investigated through detailed computational studies. Sci Rep 13, 8656 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-35161-0
Clutterbuck AL, Allaway D, Harris P, Mobasheri A. Curcumin reduces prostaglandin E2, matrix metalloproteinase-3 and proteoglycan release in the secretome of interleukin 1β-treated articular cartilage. F1000Res. 2013 Jul 4;2:147. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-147.v2. PMID: 24555068; PMCID: PMC3901452.
Peng Y, Ao M, Dong B, Jiang Y, Yu L, Chen Z, Hu C, Xu R. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Curcumin in the Inflammatory Diseases: Status, Limitations and Countermeasures. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2021 Nov 2;15:4503-4525. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S327378. PMID: 34754179; PMCID: PMC8572027.
Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea and health: studies in humans. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(34):6141-7. doi: 10.2174/1381612811319340008. PMID: 23448443; PMCID: PMC4055352.
Prasanth MI, Sivamaruthi BS, Chaiyasut C, Tencomnao T. A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy. Nutrients. 2019 Feb 23;11(2):474. doi: 10.3390/nu11020474. PMID: 30813433; PMCID: PMC6412948.
Chaplin A, Carpéné C, Mercader J. Resveratrol, Metabolic Syndrome, and Gut Microbiota. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 3;10(11):1651. doi: 10.3390/nu10111651. PMID: 30400297; PMCID: PMC6266067.
Ginwala R, Bhavsar R, Chigbu DI, Jain P, Khan ZK. Potential Role of Flavonoids in Treating Chronic Inflammatory Diseases with a Special Focus on the Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Apigenin. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Feb 5;8(2):35. doi: 10.3390/antiox8020035. PMID: 30764536; PMCID: PMC6407021.
Al-Khayri JM, Sahana GR, Nagella P, Joseph BV, Alessa FM, Al-Mssallem MQ. Flavonoids as Potential Anti-Inflammatory Molecules: A Review. Molecules. 2022 May 2;27(9):2901. doi: 10.3390/molecules27092901. PMID: 35566252; PMCID: PMC9100260.
Anand David AV, Arulmoli R, Parasuraman S. Overviews of Biological Importance of Quercetin: A Bioactive Flavonoid. Pharmacogn Rev. 2016 Jul-Dec;10(20):84-89. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.194044. PMID: 28082789; PMCID: PMC5214562.
Ballester P, Cerdá B, Arcusa R, Marhuenda J, Yamedjeu K, Zafrilla P. Effect of Ginger on Inflammatory Diseases. Molecules. 2022 Oct 25;27(21):7223. doi: 10.3390/molecules27217223. PMID: 36364048; PMCID: PMC9654013.
Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Hariri M, Darvishi L, Mofid MR. Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;4(Suppl 1):S36-42. PMID: 23717767; PMCID: PMC3665023.
Yin K, Agrawal DK. Vitamin D and inflammatory diseases. J Inflamm Res. 2014 May 29;7:69-87. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S63898. PMID: 24971027; PMCID: PMC4070857.
Ellison DL, Moran HR. Vitamin D: Vitamin or Hormone? Nurs Clin North Am. 2021 Mar;56(1):47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2020.10.004. Epub 2020 Dec 28. PMID: 33549285.