Mitigating pain and inflammation with the right tools can lead to a better quality of life.
Redness, swelling and warmth illustrate inflammation, which is often joined by immobility and pain. It’s a normal response that’s warranted with an injury or illness to protect the body from foreign invaders—a potential trigger for an infection. There is no statistical information present regarding “general inflammation” in America, but it is evident that with the increase in various diseases and illnesses that inflammation is current. Pain that has manifested from inflammation can be chronic, according to the Institute of Medicine, as many as 100 million Americans suffer from it.
When the body experiences inflammation, such as when tissues are being targeted by bacteria, trauma or heat, the injured tissues release chemicals; these chemicals are histamine, bradykinin and serotonin and they’re responsible for feeding the damaged area with blood. The blood serves as a protective agent against the foreign compound to prevent further damage. Histamine, bradykinin and serotonin also attract white blood cells called phagocytes to consume the bad bacteria and damaged cells—a process which is known as phagocytosis. The end result of all this: swelling. Swelling can be painful and as mentioned before it can lead to chronic pain.
But it’s important to note the differences between acute and chronic inflammation. For starters, acute inflammation also called systemic inflammation is associated with minor injuries or illnesses like a sprained ankle or sore throat, ultimately lasting a few days. Chronic inflammation stems from “wear and tear” conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowl disease (IBD). Chronic inflammation is what causes chronic pain.
The factors causing the chronic issues can be blamed on a poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, weight gain, poor hygiene, alcohol intake and smoking. The poor lifestyle and environmental factors are liable as to how the body perceives an internal threat because an inflammatory response may not always be needed. But when it does occur, there’s no destination for the throng of white blood cells—ultimately leading to the attack of other tissues and organs that are healthy.
To check if a condition is chronic, a doctor may order a C-reactive protein (CRP) test to check for inflammation, which is a simple blood test. The liver creates CRP when there’s inflammation, indicating a high CRP level during the test. Unfortunately, the test shows that inflammation is present but not the location. Having high levels of CRP have been associated with coronary artery disease, a reason why doctors order the test to determine if a person is at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. A CRP test is also used to help monitor pelvic inflammatory disease, IBD, arthritis and autoimmune disease like Crohn’s disease.
The Anti-inflammatory Diet
With anything, diet can play the role as medicine to alleviate symptoms, especially pertaining to pain and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory diet has been well popularized as a mechanism to fight inflammation. Foods high in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins are emphasized in the diet. A fine example of the anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean diet, which also focuses on the same types of food.
The “healthy fat” category should contain foods like salmon, tuna, flax seed, olive oil and nuts. A study published by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry discussed that consuming fats like those from the Mediterranean diet—focusing on monounsaturated fats—reduced the inflammation process. This was compared to consuming a high saturated fat diet. In regards to nuts, Dr. Shailinder Sodhi a Natural Practitioner advisory board member said, “Studies have shown that eating 1.4 grams of nuts daily is associated with a 49 percent reduction in risk of death from chronic inflammation-related diseases.”
As for fruits and vegetables, it’s recommended to go for the dark, leafy greens or anything that has true color. These types of vegetables contain powerful antioxidants. A review published by the journal New Horizons supports that antioxidants do reduce inflammatory symptoms related to joint disease and stomach issues. Coupling antioxidant-rich food with healthy fats will help to further emphasize the diet’s anti-inflammatory properties. Lean proteins, such as turkey and chicken should also be added to the mix.
Lastly, incorporating probiotic rich foods such as fermented vegetables and dairy products will help to strengthen the gut’s integrity. The reason: inflammation is the immune system’s way of saying there’s something wrong and close to 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut. When there are excessive-gram negative bacteria present within the gut, inflammation can occur. That’s why it’s important to consume probiotic-rich food to balance out the gut’s microflora. Additionally, certain probiotics have been seen to increase the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines; these substances are short chain fatty acids that can lower inflammatory markers like CRP throughout the body. Proving this, a study done by Nutrition had a group of rheumatoid arthritis patients supplement with a probiotic. The results: the markers of inflammation were drastically lower.
While a healthy diet is adhered, the right supplementation plan can be even more beneficial. That’s where EuroPharma Inc. steps in to help alleviate any painful issues pertaining to inflammation. Located in Green Bay, WI, EuroPharma has been focused on introducing European-tested medicines and proprietary formulas to the American consumer. Cheryl Myers, chief of scientific affairs and education at EuroPharma, said, “The owner of our company, Terry Lemerond was a pioneer in the field of natural products for practitioners. In the past, he launched PhytoPharmica, which merged into Integrative Theraputics (ITI) after the sale of his companies in 2000. EuroMedica is his newest company, launched in 2010.”
A trend that the company has seen pertaining to inflammation is self-directed care. Myers said, “Consumers are less willing to accept health directions and pronouncements without having significant evidence. They don’t want to know just what to take—they want to know why they should take it.” That trend has been a driving force for EuroPharma in creating formulas that can answer the why, specifically formulas that involve curcumin and boswellia. Myers explained, “There is a type of inflammation most commonly associated with lung and gut disorders called 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), and while curcumin does modulate this pathway, boswellia is even more powerful. Therefore, for many inflammatory diseases, curcumin is the best choice, but for those with high levels of 5-LOX activation, I prefer a combination of curcumin and boswellia.”
For inflammation and pain purposes, the company offers ArthoMed, BosPro, Curaphen Professional Pain Formula, Curaphen Extra Strength Professional Pain Formula, CuraPro, EurOmega-3 and Traumaplant Comfrey Cream. ArthoMed combines studied BCM-95 Curcumin with BosPure boswellia along with standardized devil’s claw and Indian gooseberry to support joint flexibility, lubrication and cushioning. It’s counterpart, BosPro, contains a high potency boswellia that can reduce pro-inflammatory compounds called beta-boswellic acids. Curaphen Professional Pain Formula is made with BCM-95 Curcumin, BosPure boswellia and DLPA to target pain relief in multiple areas; the extra strength version is simply made with higher levels of each to better target pain relief. The last of the curcumin bunch is CuraPro, which is also made with BCM-95 curcumin and turmeric essential oils to target inflammation. And of course there’s an omega-3 supplement—EurOmega-3—to help combat inflammation. The formula is comprised of EPA and DHA without the fish oil and they are naturally bound to phospholipids for more efficiency. Last but not least is Traumaplant Comfrey Cream, a cream that’s proven free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. There are 20 published studies on this product in both children and adults.
Joining the curcumin trend is Ayush Herbs, a Washington-based company that offers ayuverdic herbal products that are based off of traditional ayuverdic combinations by containing herbs that have been grown in a Himalayan environment. The company offers CoCurcumin. Dr. Sodhi explained that the product is “extracted from the infamous Indian spice, turmeric and curcumin is the single most important player in promoting a healthy inflammatory and metabolic response. This specific formulation is infused with medium chain triglycerides from coconut milk to allow for bioavailability of curcumin since curcumin is highly lipophilic. Trikatu is a traditional ayuverdic combination for digestive health as it contains piperine from black pepper, and has been seen shown to enhance turmeric absorption. The addition of CoQ10 provides additional cardiovascular and inflammatory support.”
Extra Joint Support
Patient’s joints are another inflammation-hitting area that can cause not only pain but also immobilization. Enter: Alchem USA, an herbal extract manufacturer that’s based in Minnesota, offering FlexiQule. This product targets joint stiffness and pain and is comprised of Boswellia PhytoExtract. Several studies have been done showing its effectiveness.
The Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica journal published a study where a group of patients took FlexiQule for osteoarthritis, and results indicated the group had less pain and were able to walk better. Another study was published by the same journal where patients had osteoarthritis within the knee and FlexiQule was taken. Results were also the same. And lastly, a third study was published in the same journal where osteoarthritis targeted the hands; FlexiQule was also taken. The results also indicated that FlexiQule improved pain and movement.
Follow The Rules
Established in 1999, New Jersey-based CustomVite received its start from Sam Abraham, a Harvard Business School graduate, who had found himself staring at the wall of supplements in his local health food store. Abraham was curious to understand if the business model used by Dell Computers—manufacturing to the precise specifications of individual customers—could be applied to the supplement industry. From that one thought, Abraham was able to develop a program that offers consumers dietary supplements based on their true individual needs. With that all said, CustomVite now offers more than 130 nutrients including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, enzymes, probiotics, phytonutrients, botanicals, amino acids and more. Each formula is tailored to a patient’s individualized needs—no two formulations are alike. Requirements are identified by Health Improvement Assessment questionnaire and current laboratory analysis (blood, urine, hair, stool, micronutrient and DNA samples), as well as utilizing some recommended formulations, such as condition-specific protocols, to provide a broad spectrum of support for an individual’s nutritional needs.
The condition-specific protocol library is a comprehensive library that contains nutrition support to address health concerns such as inflammation. These protocols are continuously updated with the latest research. Supplements within a protocol can be changed depending on the patient’s needs, they’re simply recommendations. To get started, health care practitioners can have their patients complete CustomVite’s Health Improvement Assessment and submit current labs to determine the proper supplement regimen. Natasha Paroutis, CustomVite’s nutrition director said, “We also offer our customers easy-to-swallow gelatin or vegetarian capsules and soft gels. We package our supplements into convenient daily dose packets so it’s very easy for each patient to consume their vitamins. We also offer our formulations in powder if a patient is unable to swallow capsules.” It’s evident that the goal of CustomVite is to customize a patient’s health journey.
As for the inflammation support protocol, specific ingredients such as: mixed carotenoids; vitamins B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6 and B12; magnesium; l-cysteine, zinc, mixed tocopherols, turmeric root, fish oil, bromelain, MSM, bilberry and glucosamine are included. Fish oil and bromelain may help to reduce inflammatory issues whereas glucosamine helps to preserve cartilage. Also, bromelain and turmeric are natural COX-2 inhibitors, which help to block the enzyme that produces prostaglandins—a hormone that’s associated with pain and inflammation. Paroutis explained, “There are common medications that are COX-2 inhibitors but those can have serious side effects and can affect blood pressure. Therefore, many have opted for the more natural approach and have chosen herbal supplements that have natural COX-2 inhibitors.”
As for how CustomVite stands apart from other anti-inflammatory aides on the market, the company offers a 25 percent commission to the practitioner on each order placed and all raw material ingredients are purchased in the USA and third-party tested for potency and purity. Also, as mentioned before, CustomVite adapts to a patient’s individual needs and patients don’t have to purchase multiple vitamin bottles thanks to the daily dose packets. Practitioners can find more information on the CustomVite program at: www.customvitepro.com.
Belcaro, G., Dugall, M., Ledda, A., Pellegrini, L., & Ippolito, E. (2015, October 22). Management of osteoarthritis (OA) with the pharma-standard supplement FlexiQule (Boswellia): A 12-week registry. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26492586.
Jones, D. S. (2010). Textbook of Functional Medicine. Gig Harbor, WA.: Institute for Functional Medicine.
For More Information:
Alchem USA, (952) 933-3822, www.alcheminternational.com
Ayush Herbs, (800) 925-1371, www.ayush.com
CustomVite, (800) 379-9979, www.customvite.com
EuroPharma Inc., (866) 598-5487, www.europharmausa.com