We all know about glucosamine helping to lower the pain of arthritic joints and that fish oils are, by their very nature, anti-inflammatory. But, I do like to see a measureable marker reduce on test results. We know it works, but it’s nice to see it on paper sometimes isn’t it?
So, here are the results of a data study published in the Journal of Epidemiology recently analysing the supplement use and other factors of almost 10,000 participants:
Participants who reported regular use of glucosamine had CRP levels that were 17 percent less on average in comparison with those who didn’t use glucosamine. For chondroitin users, the reduction in CRP averaged 22 percent and for fish oil users, CRP levels averaged 16 percent lower. When supplement use was analyzed by gender, women were found to experience greater effects from glucosamine and chondroitin in comparison with men; however, men, but not women, experienced a reduction in CRP in association with the use of ginseng.
It seems to me then, if you look at that closely, that we could potentially be using glucosamine, chondroitin and ginseng as well as the usual fish oils to reduce general inflammation not just of arthritis joints. Quite rightly, the authors of the study conclude:
Given the number of diseases with which inflammation is associated, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, there is a need to find safe and effective ways to reduce inflammation,” they conclude. “Research suggests that these three supplements have excellent safety profiles, supporting their potential role in disease prevention. It is therefore important that the potential antiinflammatory role of these supplements be further investigated.”
I would have liked to have seen actual trials measuring CRP before and after the use of each substance of course, but this is a good indicator of future potential at least.
There are many other natural anti-inflammatories, of course. Turmeric is one of my favourites and this particular product is very successful for reducing inflammation of any type generally. You can read about it fully here. I also find MSM combined with the glucosamine specifically for arthritis works better than either glucosamine on its own, or when combined with chondroitin. This is one of my faves in that case as it contains glucosamine, MSM, turmeric (curcumin) and hops, all well-established pain relievers.
On a quick search, I did find evidence and examples of these substances being successfully used to lower other types of inflammation eg chronic bladder problems/interstitial cystitis which is renowned for being very difficult to treat:
Dietary supplements targeting the bladder GAGs (chondroitin, glucosamine, hyaluronate) and bladder inflammation (quercetin, rutin) are useful in the treatment of refractory IC/PBS. Prospective randomized trials of such supplements are warranted in both treatment refractory and treatment naïve patients. Source.
And even inflammatory bowel disease:
The results indicated that glucosamine improved the clinical symptoms (evaluated by disease activity index), and suppressed colonic inflammation (evaluated by colon length and weight/length ratio) and tissue injury (evaluated by histological damage score) in DSS-induced colitis. Furthermore, glucosamine inhibited the activation of intestinal epithelial cells, as evidenced by the suppressed phosphorylation of NF-kappaB in the intestinal mucosa of DSS-induced colitis. Source.