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4 Best Anti-Inflammatory Supplements, Doctors Say

They may help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

Any time you get hurt or sick, your body responds with inflammation. This is an important part of the healing process, as it helps to stimulate repair at the site of an injury or to launch an immune response to fight off infection. However, in some people, this can escalate into chronic inflammation in which the body launches a prolonged response without a particular threat present.

"This condition affects over one-third of the American population, leading to a spectrum of health issues including, but not limited to atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, obesity, joint degenerative arthritis, and pain," says David Brady, ND, DC, chief medical officer at Designs for Health.

If a doctor has confirmed that you have chronic inflammation, you may be able to improve the condition by eating a healthy diet, exercising, improving your sleep quality, reducing your alcohol intake, and enacting other lifestyle interventions. However, taking anti-inflammatory supplements may also lower your levels and stave off related conditions.

"Pro-inflammatory states are associated with stroke, heart disease, and cancer," says Daniel Landau, MD, an oncologist and the medical director of virtual hematology at the Medical University of South Carolina. "It stands to reason that supplements that can reduce inflammation may also decrease the risk of developing these conditions." And according to doctors, these are the four best anti-inflammatory supplements.

RELATED: 12 Supplements You Should Never Take Together, Medical Experts Say.

Green tea extract

Close up Green capsules, bottle and powder on a clay brown plate on a burlap background. Dietary supplements for Weight Loss and detox. vitamins and minerals for vegans and vegetarians. Superfood

Green tea extract supplements contain an ample amount of the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This particular compound is known to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

"From the cancer perspective, there have been some anti-inflammatory supplements that may offer protection for patients. Green tea is one that has been studied across cancer types," says Landau.

In particular, studies have suggested that green tea has a positive effect in preventing and delaying the spread of breast, ovarian, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, blood cancer, and more.

Green tea supplements are also known to help reduce one's risk of a range of other inflammation-related conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease.


Curcumin supplement capsules, turmeric powder in glass bowl and curcuma root in background.
Microgen / Shutterstock

Turmeric (curcumin) is another anti-inflammatory supplement that may help reduce your risk of chronic illness.

"Due to its antioxidant properties, turmeric can help improve infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems," the Mount Sinai Health Library says. "Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause."

Landau notes that the research is especially robust when it comes to certain cancer types. "Tumeric has shown potential benefits in a number of studies for different cancers including breast, lung, prostate, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)," says the oncologist, who is also a contributing writer at The Mesothelioma Center.

Though he says that "several studies have suggested potential benefits," he adds that "further studies need to be performed to answer the exact questions on what dose patients would need to take or on how to best supplement patients who are battling cancer with anti-inflammatory medications."

RELATED: 5 Best Anti-Aging Supplements, According to a Doctor.

Ginger extract

Ginger Root

Ginger extract supplements also come highly recommended for their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.

"Ginger contains bioactive compounds such as gingerol, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects," explains Dev Batra, MD, a double board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist at Texas Vascular Institute. "These compounds work by inhibiting the production of inflammatory substances and reducing inflammation in the body."

One 2020 meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrients found that ginger supplements were especially beneficial for improving symptoms of osteoarthritis, which causes inflammation in the lining of joints.

Among eight studies that reported the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger supplementation, "arthritis-related diseases were the most conducted studies, particularly osteoarthritis (OA). Regarding OA, six studies investigated the efficiency of the constituents of ginger that serve as anti-inflammatory agents. All studies reported improvement following ginger intake compared to the control group," the researchers wrote.

Vitamin D

Senior woman holding omega-3 fish oil nutritional supplement and glass of water in her hands.

Finally, Batra suggests taking vitamin D if you're hoping to relieve symptoms of inflammation. "While primarily known for its role in bone health, vitamin D also modulates the immune system and reduces inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules," the doctor explains.

Brady agrees that vitamin D is among the best supplements for fighting inflammation. "Considering the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in approximately 40 percent of adults, the inclusion of vitamin D supplementation is critical," he says.

However, the experts emphasize that taking a holistic approach is always best if you want to lower your inflammation levels. "Remember, while supplements can be helpful, maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and managing stress are also key components of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle," says Batra.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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