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10 Anti-Inflammatory Supplements That Work


— pain, swelling, redness and heat — is a double-edged sword. This immunity-mediated process is crucial when you have an injury. It helps your body fight infection and clear away damaged tissue. But inflammation can become a chronic condition if your body fails to shut off this reaction, or activates it when there is no apparent trigger.

Inflammation can last for years. It can target a particular area — like your skin, sinuses, prostate, bladder or gums. (Any diagnosis that ends with “-itis” is an inflammatory condition.) Inflammation can become a body-wide condition, and has be identified as the underlying cause of many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological degeneration, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Inflammation is a big threat. That’s why it’s so important to get it under control.

A diet focused on vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, nuts and whole grains can reduce inflammation. Nutritional supplements also help, and unlike drugs, they work without causing stomach ulcers. There are plenty of natural inflammation-fighters. Here are our top choices:

1. Fish Oil

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease the body’s production of a long list of pro-inflammatory biochemicals, including the same ones targeted by most NSAIDs — cyclooxygenase (COX 1 and 2). It also helps to reduce levels of inflammatory interleukins, specifically interleukin-1, a marker of chronic inflammation. In studies, people with rheumatoid arthritis who took fish oil were able to reduce their dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs. They also reported less pain and stiffness.

Fish oil has a synergistic effect with aspirin on inhibiting synthesis of thromboxane A2 and the highly inflammatory leukotriene B4. It’s reported to help asthma, cystitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, prostatitis and dermatitis.

2. Antioxidants

Immune cells cause oxidative damage as they fight infection, and ongoing oxidative damage drives chronic inflammation. Reducing oxidative damage can help control inflammation. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium all help to control oxidative damage by neutralizing “free radicals,” the molecular renegades that cause oxidative damage and can start a chain reaction that keeps it going.


The anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin seem to come from its ability to dampen the production and activity of pro-inflammatory biochemicals such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins, and to block the release of histamine, the biochemical that causes allergic symptoms like runny nose and itchy eyes. Quercetin also seems to help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic, nonbacterial prostatitis.


Curcumin, a component of the yellow spice turmeric, found in curry, may have special anti-inflammatory properties in the eyes, where a layer of yellow pigment helps to protect the retina — and especially, the macula — from the harmful effects of sunlight. The pigment actually acts as a filter, blocking harmful blue UV light from striking the retina. Curcumin has been proven helpful for chronic anterior uveitis (an inflammation of the front part of the eye) and for macular degeneration.

5. Bromelain

This protein-dissolving enzyme is obtained from the stem and fruit of the pineapple. Bromelain seems to exert its anti-inflammatory effect by altering leukocyte migration and activation. Leukocytes are white blood cells that help fight infection but can also perpetuate inflammation. Bromelain is good for an acute injury or inflammation caused by ongoing injury, such as osteoarthritis, with its ongoing injury to joint cartilage.

6. Resveratrol

Some evidence suggests that resveratrol is a more potent anti-inflammatory agent than NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or indomethacin. Injections of  resveratrol into the joints of animals decreases inflammation and reduces cartilage destruction. Like ginger and fish oil, resveratrol inhibits a number of inflammation-producing biochemicals, including COX-1 and COX-2. It also seems to have a regulating effect on certain immune cells. It may reduce T cell proliferation. T cells are involved in some autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. It also affects cells called granulocytes, which are associated with the inflammation produced in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so it may be helpful in reducing the lung damage associated with this smoking-related ailment.

7. Flax Seed Oil

For some reason, flax seed seems to especially target the skin. In zoos, it’s given to hippos, elephants and rhinos to help keep their massive hides healthy. Some of the fat in flax seed oil converts to EPA and DHA, the same active components in fish oil. Flax seed oil can be a good addition to fish oil, especially if you are on a low-fat diet or have dermatitis — dry, scaly, itchy skin.

8. Ginger

Certain constituents of ginger, called gingerols, have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. They inhibit a number of  biochemicals that promote inflammation, including COX and lipoxygenase pathways. Ginger has been shown to reduce pain from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, you will need to be patient. It can take up to three months of treatment to get relief.

9. Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is a coenzyme that has lots of talents, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. It is both fat and water soluble, and can regenerate other important antioxidants like vitamins E, C and glutathione. It provides anti-inflammatory protection in blood vessels and in the fatty tissues of the brain and nerves. It’s a must for anyone with diabetes, neuritis or neuropathy, since it also improves glucose metabolism and blood flow in nerves.

10. Zinc

Many people take zinc to boost their immunity, but recent research shows that zinc may also be a natural inflammation fighter. Popping zinc regularly can help reduce inflammation and has also been shown to offer immune support. Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, tested whether zinc supplementation decreases oxidative stress. They found that consuming 25 mg three times a day for three months decreased TNF-alpha, a cytokine that amplifies inflammation.

The bottom line is that chronic, uncontrolled inflammation has been linked to a wide range of health problems which can dramatically affect your quality of your life as you age. But research has shown that anti-inflammatory supplements can provide effective relief with virtually no side effects. Before you start taking a NSAID or other potentially dangerous drug to deal with inflammation, why not consider some safe ?

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Article updated on: July 25th, 2015

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26 Responses to “ 10 Anti-Inflammatory Supplements That Work ”

  1. […] to prevent cancer and as a treatment are already underway, but nature has an abundance of anti-inflammatory supplements and nutrients to offer us which can both lower cytokine levels and control the inflammatory […]

  2. […] to prevent cancer and as a treatment are already underway, but nature has an abundance of anti-inflammatory supplements and nutrients to offer us which can both lower cytokine levels and control the inflammatory […]

  3. Mamacrabb05 on April 9, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    so how much of these thing do you need to take an where do i find them?

  4. Anti Inflammatory Supplements on May 23, 2011 at 11:58 PM

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  13. Anon on August 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Inflammation is directly connected to aging and disease, so, whatever a person can do to fight inflammation, will help them combat both the process of aging, and protect them from disease.

  14. George Strassle on March 11, 2015 at 9:31 PM

    need a natural anti inflammatory for post knee replacement. On xeralto because of a blood clot and rom wont come back.

    • Segen Tekle on March 13, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      I would suggest a natural antioxidant supplement which can help support a healthy inflammatory response. It may also be a good idea to include a fish oil supplement in your regimen as the properties in fish oil can reduce any pain and/or stiffness you may be experiencing. Please make sure to consult with a physician prior to taking any additional supplements to avoid any complications.

      I hope this helps, best wishes!

  15. Relief Factor on March 23, 2015 at 2:46 PM

    Resveratrol an effective and potent anti-inflammatory ingredient which can be found in grape skins and seeds. So this naturally means that resveratrol can be found in red wine! Learned about Bromelain from this article, I wasn’t aware the anti-inflammatory effects from it. Thanks for the informative article on these anti-inflammatory supplements.

    • Segen Tekle on March 24, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      Hi there,
      We’re so glad you find this information useful!
      It’s extremely important to know which supplements and foods naturally support a healthy inflammatory response.

  16. […] can also take antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, glutathione, fish oil and others that will protect us from anything that oxidizes LDL cholesterol or produces free radicals. Common […]

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  20. ora exacta on October 5, 2015 at 4:35 AM

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  22. Leif Smith on October 18, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Best anti-inflammatory probably anatabine citrate. Now, for no reason that makes sense to me, forced off the market by FDA.

    For research on anatabine citrate for TBI and GWI see the Roskamp Institute, Sarasota, Florida.


  23. Valderine Zudell on January 31, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    I had just read this article prefacing an ad for an arthritis remedy which I was about to order for my husband but decided against doing so because you were only given 14 days from the DATE OF THE ORDER before another shipment would be sent automatically. This would only allow 8-10 days to try it and see if it worked for him. This would not be sufficient time for any natural remedy to start to take effect and I’m sure the sponsers are aware of it but are using it to trick people into ordering Autoship. One would not even have time to get the shipment and respond before another shipment would be sent out, let alone seeing any results from taking the supplement. This is sad because it sounded like it would be a good supplement for arthritis.