My family has a history of inflammatory diseases. What are some ways of keeping my inflammation down?
Keeping inflammation in check is important for all of us. Now, it’s important to point out some inflammation is natural and healthy, but all too often – too much is not. And as strength athletes, I think we forgot what a pro-inflammatory type lifestyle we live. That’s important to acknowledge, because Inflammation is either the underlying cause, or exacerbates almost every medical condition you can name. Heart disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and every other ITIS you can name. The question becomes then, how do we keep it in check?
Balancing Training & Rest
Let’s talk about training first. The Bulgarians in fact, considered training a form of “irritation” to the body. I mean think about it logically: If you’re always breaking down muscle, stressing tendons, ligaments, bursa, fascia etc. do you think your insides are going to be inflamed? Of course they will, so stop over-stressing your system by balancing rest with training is number 1.
And sure, you can argue the Bulgarians in some cases trained multiple times per day. But if you were a real student of Leo Costa’s works, you knew they ALWAYS practiced recovery techniques subsequent and in some cases, even prior to those sessions. Some like massage may not be practical. But hot and cold contrasting showers are, and you’d be wise to start incorporating them into what you’re doing.
Second on my list would be anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals, and thankfully, there are a LOT of them. Baby aspirin or even better, salycitic acid is way up on the list. So is fish oil, ideally in higher doses every 2nd or 3rd day. I define higher doses as anywhere between 6 and 10 grams.
You can take less krill oil to do the same job, and the capsules are a lot smaller (which is important to some people, particularly women). Curcumin would be next on my list, between 1 and 2 grams/day for most formulas. Boswellia Serrata is an often overlooked one, and it brings with it almost immediate relief. Cissus Quadrangularis is yet another, taking about a week or so to kick in and being surprisingly effective for many.
Next up on my list would be anti-oxidants, as oxidation (while technically differing from inflammation) is in and of itself, a major problem. And it isn’t just accelerated aging that’s the problem, nor is it just cosmetic. To better understand that, remember this: High cholesterol isn’t the problem. Nor is necessarily bad LDL cholesterol. The real problem is OXIDIZED cholesterol, and it’s the one that does all the damage. Top shelf anti-oxidants are Curcumin, EGCG from green tea and short courses of Buckminsterfullerine.
More common anti-oxidants are vitamins C and E, Pycnogenol and Alpha lipoic acid, which importantly has been shown to re-cycle Vitamins C and E. Astaxathin also has an ever growing body of research around it. THE most important anti-oxidant though IMO? N-Acetyl Cysteine, or cysteine residues found in high quality whey which build your body’s most prolific endogenous anti-oxidant – Glutathione.
So there’s a short list of what keeps inflammation in check, and a few of the compounds that can help you do it. Acute inflammation can also be addressed by icing of an injury, or even just a worked muscle group. Honorable mention goes to DMSO, provided you can afford to smell like garlic while using it. It would be nice to find a commercially available DMSO without the odor, but to date I haven’t been able to find a product that’s consistently available. If anyone does know of one, I’d be most appreciative if you could pass it along.
Hope that helps…