An Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle And Its Benefits
Anti-inflammatory simply refers to the component of a treatment or feature of a substance that is used in the management of inflammation or to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory meaning anti-inflammatory drugs to a lot of people make up the majority of the analgesics available, this group of drugs helps to relieve pain by reducing the ongoing inflammatory process as opposed to the opioids that relieve pain by acting on the central nervous system to block the pathway of pain directly (1).
Osteoarthritis disease may be more common among people who do not lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle when young and hence experience health issues in their mature years. An anti-inflammatory lifestyle also includes healthy foods, such as anti inflammatory omega 3.
Types And Examples Of Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle
Anti-inflammatory is not limited to only anti-inflammatory drugs only, other things can serve as anti-inflammatory functions. These are:
- 1. Anti-inflammatory medicines
- 2. Anti-inflammatory foods
- 3. Anti-inflammatory exercises
- 4. Anti-inflammatory supplements
1. Anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce inflammation
Anti-inflammatory meaning anti-inflammatory drugs are medications that help to reduce inflammation, they are popularly referred to as NSAIDs, meaning non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are drugs that when taken function to help relieve pain and reduce associated edema and swelling (7).
Common examples are aspirin diclofenac and COX-2 inhibiting drugs such as celecoxib. Studies reveal that millions of people use NSAIDs daily to help relieve pain, especially headaches, swelling of body parts from inflammation, and elevated body temperature (6).
Most Common Examples Of Nsaids
There are three commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These are:
- – Aspirin: Aspirin is a commonly used NSAID that can be used solely or combined with other agents. Some brands that used it solely are Byer or St. Joseph. And brands that used them in combination such as Ascriptin, Anacin, and Excedrin (6).
- – Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is another popular NSAID used generally, some brand examples are Motrin and Advil
- – Naproxen sodium: A popular brand of naproxen sodium is Aleve (6).
Classification Of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Anti-inflammatory meaning NSAIDs commonly can be classified according to their structure chemically, and their selectivity.
- – Acetylated salicylates: such as aspirin
- – Non-acetylated salicylates: examples are the salsalate and diflunisal
- – Propionic acids: examples are naproxen and ibuprofen
- – Acetic acids: common examples are diclofenac and indomethacin
- – Others are enolic acids with examples such as meloxicam, and anthranilic acids such as mefenamic acid (9).
According To Specificity
The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs prevent the production of prostaglandins by the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). COX-1 and COX-2 are the two forms of COX that your body makes. The majority of the NSAIDs are not specific, this translates to the blocking of both cyclooxygenase 1 and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-1 and COX-2). COX-1 is responsible for stomach mucosal protection, while COX-2 induces inflammation (8).
The availability of NSAIDs over the counter most of the time is dependent on their specificity, for example, in the united states, some non-specific medications can be gotten over the counter, while others will require a prescription from a doctor before they can be dispensed. Similarly, this also goes for the specific NSAIDs
The following are some examples of nonspecific NSAIDs that can be gotten over the counter in the united states,
- – Ibuprofen( motrin and advil)
- – Aspirin in highdose
- – Naproxen sodium ( brands like aleve and naprosyn) (8).
Other NSAIDs are nonspecific and cannot be dispensed in the united states unless there is a doctor’s prescription, examples of this group are:
- – Diclofenac, a branded example is zorvolex
- – Indomethacin, brand such as tivorbex
- – Diflunisal
- – Etodolac
- – Mefenamic acid, a brand such as ponstel.
- – Other common examples of prescriptive non-specific NSAIDs are ibuprofen, flurbiprofen, sulindac, and nabumetone (8).
- – Selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors are a group of NSAIDs that block more of the cyclooxygenase-2 than cyclooxygenase-1. in the united states, celecoxib (Celebrex), is the only prescriptive COX-2 inhibitor available (8).
Mechanism Of Action Of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
The primary mode of action of NSAIDs is by blocking the production and secretion of certain chemicals in the body that is responsible for the process of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory meaning NSAIDs are mostly good for the treatment of pain that occur as a result of damage to the soft tissues in the body, as in arthritis.
Additionally, NSAIDs also do part of the work of a steroid without exposing the patient to the side effects, and just as steroids are used in reducing edema and inflammations, NSAIDs also act similarly to help reduce pain and swelling in body tissues, especially around joints and muscles (6).
Indications For The Use Of Nsaids
Anti-inflammatory meaning NSAIDs are commonly used for quite a several clinical conditions, especially diseases of the joints. The following are some of the conditions that will require the use of NSAIDs:
- – Inflammation of the joint, arthritis
- – Osteoarthritis
- – Rheumatoid arthritis
- – Gout
- – Toothache
- – Backpain
- – Headache
- – Myalgia
- – Tendonitis
- – Dysmenorrhea, painful menstruation
- – Fever
- – Autoimmune diseases (6).
NSAIDs are available in different forms, they are available in form of tablets, suppositories, and tablets. Other forms in which NSAIDs are available are in sprays, creams, and liquids (7).
What Are The Side Effects Of Nsaids?
There is simply no drug without its side effects, as much as NSAIDs are very versatile in the treatment of various diseases, it also has their side effects which are quite a number. Below are some of the side effects of NSAIDs:
- – Gastric side effects: most of the side effects of NSAIDs are usually a result of the inhibition of COX-1, and COX-1 is the enzyme responsible for the inhibition of gastric mucosa protection by prostaglandins, and this damage is more severe in patients that have the previous history of peptic ulcer disease, therefore, NSAIDs which are COX-2 selective or specific will be more beneficial for this group of the patient (9).
- – Hepatic side effects: diclofenac is the medicine with the higher risk of hepatotoxicity among the drugs belonging to NSAIDs, other medicines here are not usually hepatotoxic and hospital admission on account of liver damage is not common as well
- – Renal side effects: the renal adverse effect is common among patients that have an underlying renal pathology or electrolytes imbalances, usually, NSAIDs will cause a reduction in the level of prostaglandins, and these prostaglandins are responsible for maintaining good renal hemodynamics, so when the levels are reduced in a known kidney disease, it accelerates further complications. Examples of such complications are acute kidney injury, nephrotic syndrome, and electrolyte imbalances. Others are interstitial nephritis, and renal artery stenosis (9).
- – Cardiovascular side effects: the use of NSAIDs increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders such as acute myocardial infarction, embolic events, thrombosis, and atrial flutters and fibrillations. Diclofenac has been recorded as the NSAID with the highest cardiovascular risk
Other common side effects are chest pain, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting (9).
2. Foods for Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
Anti-inflammatories are not limited to just medicines, anti-inflammatory food is also very important, with adequate consumption of the right anti-inflammatory foods, the immune system gets adequate stimulation to fight against any pathogenic microorganisms when they come in contact with the body. Anti-inflammatory foods are also very important to combat severe inflammation that persists for a long time even without a foreign pathogen.
Some of the non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, and heart diseases, that affect the body system have been linked to chronic inflammation, and all of these are controllable with diet. Hence, another reason why anti-inflammatory foods are very important (2).
Several epidemiological studies have revealed that processed foods may lead to obesity and promote inflammation in the body. Examples of these inflammatory foods are red meat, processed and fried foods. An anti-inflammatory diet contains plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids. A good example of such diet is Mediterranean diet that also contains omega-3 and turmeric.
Examples Of Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Studies reveal that some foods can help to alter inflammatory processes, especially chronic inflammation. Below are examples of some anti-inflammatory foods available:
- 1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish is one of the most commonest and good sources of protein and fatty acids, especially the long-chain fatty acids such as anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, and another fatty acid component in fatty fish is docosahexaenoic acid. It is good that the anti-inflammatory omega3 fatty acid is a component of almost all kinds of fish but some fatty fish contain it the most examples of such are:
- – Sardines
- – Herring
- – Mackerel
- – Others are salmon and anchovies (11).
Anti-inflammatory omega 3 is a form of healthy fat seen in food that helps to build the body and also help to maintain an overall health. One of the best benefits of anti-inflammatory omega 3 is in the treatment and prevention of inflammation (4) and cardiovascular disease. Aside from the inflammation function, they also help to keep the body organs in good shape and set the immune system on alert to help fight invading pathogens (5).
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), helps to prevent and alter chronic inflammatory processes that can lead to further complications such as diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney diseases, and metabolic syndrome. When these fats are consumed, they are broken down by the body into smaller components called resolvins and protectins, and they function basically as anti-inflammatory substances (3).
Studies reveal that individuals that consume the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, salmon fish, and docosahexaenoic acid have the health benefit of reduction in their inflammatory markers levels such as CRP (C-reactive protein), and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) in addition to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease(11).
- 2. Berries
Berries are fruits that are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fibers. There are different kinds of fibers such as strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and lots more. Berries are rich in antioxidants named anthocyanins, and one unique advantage of anthocyanin is that it contains compounds that perform anti-inflammatory functions. Studies have revealed that individuals that eat blueberries have high production of natural killer cells (NK cells) compared to others not consume the powder (11).
Other anti-inflammatory foods are:
- – Fruits
- – Green vegetables
- – Nuts (like walnut)
- – Whole grain meals
- – Tomatoes (12).
3. Exercises for Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
Just like medicine and food, anti-inflammatories also include exercises in relieving the symptoms of inflammation. Especially inflammation that affects the joints and muscles, and studies reveal that regular exercise is one of the main components of altering the inflammation process, in cases of joint inflammations like osteoarthritis, anti-inflammatory meaning NSAIDs are sometimes combined with exercises as prescribed by the physician and physical therapist to prevent stiffness of the joints. The following are examples of the best exercise to tackle inflammation:
- – Walking
As easy as it sounds, walking is one of the easiest ways to tackle inflammation, especially inflammation affecting the joints. and the easiest way to exercise the body as well. Walking as low as a twenty-minute walk a day can lower inflammatory processes, a simple walk outside the house or walk around the garden will do a lot to benefit the body and inflammatory sites (13).
- – Strength training
Strength training is one of the key exercises to protect the body against inflammation, it is majorly an anti-inflammatory serving as a prophylaxis. Either heavy or light weight lifting, it does a lot of good to the body to slow down inflammatory processes, it is associated with the release of cytokines and growth hormones as well as reducing the risk of the body to chronic inflammation predisposed chronic diseases such as hypertensive heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, and cancers (14).
- – Yoga
Yoga is more than just body motion exercise and impressing the viewers, studies have revealed a lot of benefits that can be gotten from yoga exercise. Apart from its fitness benefits, yoga has been found to confer anti-inflammatory benefits, it can help to reduce chronic inflammatory processes that predispose individuals to chronic diseases such as heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and metabolic disorders.
Yoga instructors reveal that breathing in and out during yoga exercises helps to send a signal to the parasympathetic nervous system of the brain which in turn helps to control stress and down-regulate ongoing inflammatory processes in the body. It is therefore good to practice yoga for these benefits and also to calm the body (14).
4. Supplements to fight Inflammation
Anti-inflammatory meaning actions against inflammation are not limited to medicines, exercises, and foods alone, there are tested and trusted supplements that are recommended to help combat inflammatory processes in the body. The following are the best supplements for inflammation, especially inflammations affecting the joints of the body:
- – Glucosamine
Glucosamine has been identified as one of the best anti-inflammatory supplements against joint inflammation. They help to keep the joint cartilage healthy and reduce the pain experienced during arthritis of the joint. Glucosamine is also more important in the elderly because the level tends to decrease as one grows old.
- – Omega 3 fatty acids
Anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids supplements have been shown to contain substances that help to decrease the production and secretion of inflammatory chemicals, especially in rheumatoid arthritis.
- – Green tea
Studies have revealed that green tea is made up of substances that perform anti-inflammatory function in helping to combat inflammation as well as joint pain in inflammations of the knee. Green tea also contains anti-oxidant properties (10).
- 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-inflammatory
- 2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
- 3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00122/full#:~:text=Omega%2D3+polyunsaturated+fatty+acids+(n%2D3+PUFAs),are+collectively+named+specialized+pro%2D
- 4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3
- 5. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet
- 6. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/11086-non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-medicines-nsaids
- 7. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/anti-inflammatory-medicines
- 8. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/otc-anti-inflammatories#uses
- 9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547742/#:~:text=NSAIDs+are+typically+divided+into,meloxicam%2C+piroxicam)+anthranilic+acids+(
- 10. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/arthritis-guide#:~:text=Some+people+use+supplements+to,just+a+few+of+them.&text=Glucosamine+has+been+touted+as,the+cartilage+in+joints+healthy.
- 11. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-anti-inflammatory-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4
- 12. https://www.webmd.com/diet/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health
- 13. https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7677835/5-exercises-you-can-do-at-home-to-reduce-inflammation/
- 14. https://www.realsimple.com/anti-inflammatory-exercise-6754728