8

votes

What is a paleo anti-inflammatory for acute inflammation?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 09, 2010 at 3:15 AM

I like to avoid things like ibuprofen and other meds of that ilk. Mark Sisson had a good post on anti-inflammatory foods a while back. He listed things like:

  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Peppers

But I want to go further.

What sort of foods or meds can I utilize to reduce acute inflammation after a rough workout or injury that fits within the paleo milieu?

P.S. Thanks for the clarifying questions y'all. I've updated this question to clarify.

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on February 11, 2013
at 04:59 PM

Homeopathic *anything* is fine taken internally since there isn't any active ingredient, anyway.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 04, 2011
at 03:50 PM

David, can you point me to some research on that? Or some clear explanation?

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on February 04, 2011
at 05:51 AM

One should not want to reduce acute-inflammation from a workout. That is a key part of muscle repair.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on February 04, 2011
at 05:50 AM

Inflammation is necessary for macrophages to properly initiate the repair process of muscle tissue. Halting the acute-inflammatory response is actually counter-productive in terms of muscle hypertrophy.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 29, 2010
at 02:14 PM

Is this just spam? "We're knights of the round table We dance when e're we're able We do routines and chorus scenes With footwork impecc-able We dine well here in Camelot We eat ham and jam and spam alot"

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 29, 2010
at 02:10 PM

What about icing an injury? Isn't that reducing acute inflammation? Isn't icing an injury a good thing?

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 22, 2010
at 02:16 PM

My dad's cardiologist told me about a recent study linking chronic ibuprofin/NSAID use to increased levels of arterial plaque. My dad (who has always eaten more like us than like SAD) took Advil every day for several years to deal with a chronic lower back issue, and ended up... in a situation where he needed a cardiologist. In future I'll stick with Tylenol, and only if necessary.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 20, 2010
at 07:22 PM

Same experience with Bromelain. For me this stuff is powerful and acts in a much better way than any NSAID. I had low iron and bromelain helped reduce inflammation so I could absorb iron more efficiently.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 20, 2010
at 07:18 PM

NSAIDs are known to be major contributors to leaky gut.

Bcb2f5436d11467e89123680c046b858

(1356)

on May 07, 2010
at 11:38 PM

Oh, good point! Homeopathic Arnica is fine taken internally - I was talking about the actual herb. I should have mentioned that. Thanks!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on May 07, 2010
at 07:15 PM

When did man discover ice has a help, I wonder.

86a7abe4a54c4dc15ea44bacef00c5a8

(523)

on May 07, 2010
at 03:07 AM

There is a homeopathic version of Arnica Montana available in a sublingual form. I believe Boiron makes one in little pellets.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on May 06, 2010
at 06:35 PM

Thanks Annika! :)

5ebeec76e20738d0a17cd724d64b1e0f

(1922)

on April 02, 2010
at 12:36 AM

The effect of antacids, baking soda or Alka Gold on stomach acid is very short-lived. I wouldn't suggest taking it with or near a meal, but even if you did, keep in mind that most digestion happens enzymatically, not with stomach acid. Acid does help with the breakdown and absorption of certain minerals, though. Also, food itself has a similar body-wide effect to something like Alka Gold, which can be why some people feel better when they eat: Food causes the secretion of acid into the stomach, and at the same time, it causes the blood to become slightly alkaline.

A231170e329756974c79cd8d2116351c

(103)

on March 31, 2010
at 04:45 PM

Would baking soda or antacids reduce stomach acidity too much (adversly affecting digestion), possibly leading to gut irritation? Or is that a moot issue if the baking soda or Alka Seltzer is taken, say, 3 hours before or after a meal?

6b73f0c4b971e2dde7147920e329fe7f

(2041)

on March 10, 2010
at 01:15 AM

But was ibuprofen the proximate or the ultimate cause of your ulcer? Consider that you probably had an H. pylori infection that required the full inflammatory response of your stomach lining. Now, an anti-inflammatory drug comes along, weakening the innate immune system just enough for H. pylori to cause an ulcer. Not to mention that oral is not the only deliver route for NSAIDs.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2010
at 01:02 AM

Having had an ulcer caused by Ibuprofen and knowing several others who have had them, I wouldn't classify it as harmless. Luckily, now that I do paleo, the headaches that propelled me to take it every day are gone.

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 09, 2010
at 01:02 PM

Patrick, so right! see my comment below for related things...

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20 Answers

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3
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 02, 2010
at 02:37 AM

Because I was looking for a specific list of paleo foods that have a positive effect on acute inflammation, and was not looking to debate the merit or mistake of attempting to reduce acute inflammation, I am reluctant to make Patrik's answer the answer. So I've gleaned from the whole page of answers and generated a comprehensive list of what people have suggested. I've put them all in one answer for efficiency's sake. Here we go...

Paleo sources of foods that have anti-inflammatory effects on acute inflammation include:

Another herb source I found:

Other suggestions include:

  • taking an ice bath
  • contrast hydrotherapy (alternating cold/hot water every minute or two)
  • topical application of castor oil, an oil made from the seed of the castor plant

I hope this helps some people! Thanks everyone for your answers!

UPDATE: Mark Sisson tweeted this article that suggests that acute inflammation helps to heal wounds!

10
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on March 09, 2010
at 03:30 AM

I think is less about eating "anti-inflammatory foods" than it is about not eating "inflammatory" foods.

BTW Mike Eades recommends krill oil in lieu of NSAIDs.

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/why-krill-oil/

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 09, 2010
at 01:02 PM

Patrick, so right! see my comment below for related things...

8
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 09, 2010
at 08:03 AM

Do you want to reduce chronic inflammation? Or are you talking about acute inflammation?

Why do I ask? Acute inflammation is actually the first part of the healing process, and I don't know if it is desirable to reduce this inflammation? It is quite normal to experience inflammation if e.g. you sprain your ankle or pull a muscle.

The symptoms of acute inflammation actually try to change your behaviour in order to let the healing proces take place. Reducing acute inflammation could not be necessary.

A question I'd like to add (for the MD's or scientists or just smart people):

anti-inflammatory meds reduce inflammation by reducing the ability of the organism to produce inflammatory mediators (the so called inflammatory soup)?

anti-inflammatory 'foods' reduce inflammation by reducing the need of the organism to produce inflammation? So by reducing the root cause, while the above is more or less the symptomatic approach.

Does this make sense?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 29, 2010
at 02:10 PM

What about icing an injury? Isn't that reducing acute inflammation? Isn't icing an injury a good thing?

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6092)

on February 04, 2011
at 05:50 AM

Inflammation is necessary for macrophages to properly initiate the repair process of muscle tissue. Halting the acute-inflammatory response is actually counter-productive in terms of muscle hypertrophy.

7
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on March 09, 2010
at 04:04 PM

"What sort of foods or meds can I utilize to reduce inflammation after a rough workout or injury that fits within the paleo milieu?"

Don't. Immediately after a rough workout is the last time you'd want to reduce inflammation, I'd have thought. Pieter has already hit on the reason why: while reducing general chronic inflammation is a good thing (perhaps the most important single adjustment for health), you don't want to reduce specific, natural acute inflammation. I would have thought that targeted inflammation was crucial for recovery from exercise and especially for healing and rebuilding stronger, from exercise induced damage just as from a standard injury. The ideal would be to have very little background inflammation, but a robust inflammatory response when needs be. Hence why an excess of omega 3 relative to omega 6 would be a bad thing.

I seem to recall (but can't relocate) a study finding that taking large doses of omega 3 reduced the symptoms suffered for colds, but made the colds last longer, which would make sense. There was a similar finding regarding the effects of taking large doses of anti-oxidants after exercise: the antioxidants prevented the benefits associated with exercise occurring.

Following on from what pieter said, not all anti-inflammatory foods are anti-inflammatory by reducing the need for inflammation; an excess of omega 3 will reduce your bodies ability to produce an inflammatory response. Certainly I think that we ought to focus far more on reducing inflammation than maintaining it (hence why I think extra-paleo omega3:6 ratios might be a good idea, but the times when we would want inflammation would certainly be when we're sick, injured or recovering from exercise.

4
35aa6fee222660ce1382d45a7a9a92fd

on March 10, 2010
at 12:31 AM

Many modern medicines are derived from plants, but only providing the active ingredient. Herbalists will argue that other co-factors in the plant work in conjunction with the active ingredient to make it more efficacious - and they are probably right in most cases, a primary motivation for supplying refined ingredients is to be able to patent and brand a normally generic substance.

A couple common herbs for inflammation, and their modern counterparts:

  • To reduce inflammation from acute injury. Paleo version: arnica. Modern version: Diclofenac.

  • To reduce systemic inflammation. Paleo version: Willow bark. Modern version: Aspirin.

Of course, a proper paleo diet will reduce systemic inflammation. Inflammation is a constant battle in the human body though, so eating a diet rich in ginger, turmeric and other plant-based anti-inflammatories isn't a bad idea.

It is almost always worthwhile to attempt to reduce inflammation from acute injuries. While some inflammation opens up blood vessels and brings more nutrients to the area of injury, too much inflammation can restrict flow and have the opposite effect. The body is greatly tuned to over-exaggerate the inflammation response in acute injuries. This is because inflammation not only starts the healing process, but it immobilizes the injury. Think of a sprained ankle or broken bone: the goal of the excessive amounts of inflammation in these injuries can cause is immobilization, allowing the animal partial usage of a damaged limb. Healing is almost always faster when the inflammation response can be toned down a little. Corticosteroids, which are definitely not paleo, likely go way too far in reducing the inflammation response beyond what is necessary for proper healing, but herbal anti-inflammatories aren't going to have nearly that great of an effect.

Another way of reducing acute inflammation is an ice bath, or contrast hydrotherapy (alternating cold/hot water every minute or two).

Another herbal concoction that I like to take after an acute injury is "Dr Christopher's Bone Flesh and Cartilage" (BFC). This is just a recipe for a set of herbs that are useful in stimulating the healing process and providing nutrients needed for healing, any quality herbalist will carry this recipe.

3
6b73f0c4b971e2dde7147920e329fe7f

(2041)

on March 10, 2010
at 12:46 AM

Ibuprofen is a very benign substance. It seems to be an analogue for endogenous eicosanoid hormones, triggering diverse anti-inflammatory pathways. It is so safe that I refer to it as Vitamin I. It is basically just a stronger version of the anti-inflammatory drugs that are in turmeric, etc.

Another old herbal medicine for topical use is castor oil. I suspect that the "extra-virgin" extractions methods for castor oil yielding a clear product are not as effective as the older, high temperature pressing that yields a yellow product. The free fatty acid ricinoleate is the active ingredient in castor oil, and high temperature pressing of oil produces free fatty acids. So buy cheap, crude castor oil at a store catering to Indians or Mexicans rather than the fancy stuff at the drug store.

Acute injuries were the cause of death for paleos and HGs. This is one instance where modern medicine is prudent.

6b73f0c4b971e2dde7147920e329fe7f

(2041)

on March 10, 2010
at 01:15 AM

But was ibuprofen the proximate or the ultimate cause of your ulcer? Consider that you probably had an H. pylori infection that required the full inflammatory response of your stomach lining. Now, an anti-inflammatory drug comes along, weakening the innate immune system just enough for H. pylori to cause an ulcer. Not to mention that oral is not the only deliver route for NSAIDs.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 10, 2010
at 01:02 AM

Having had an ulcer caused by Ibuprofen and knowing several others who have had them, I wouldn't classify it as harmless. Luckily, now that I do paleo, the headaches that propelled me to take it every day are gone.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 20, 2010
at 07:18 PM

NSAIDs are known to be major contributors to leaky gut.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 22, 2010
at 02:16 PM

My dad's cardiologist told me about a recent study linking chronic ibuprofin/NSAID use to increased levels of arterial plaque. My dad (who has always eaten more like us than like SAD) took Advil every day for several years to deal with a chronic lower back issue, and ended up... in a situation where he needed a cardiologist. In future I'll stick with Tylenol, and only if necessary.

3
5ebeec76e20738d0a17cd724d64b1e0f

on March 09, 2010
at 08:29 AM

Omega-3 fatty acids are pretty effective anti-inflammatories, particularly when combined with reducing O-6 fats. A tablespoon of fish oil in event of an injury wouldn't be unreasonable to me.

Acid / base balance can also affect inflammation in some people, for certain types of inflammation. You might try a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, and see if that gives you any relief. In some people, the relief can be sudden and dramatic (within a minute of finishing the drink); I've experienced that myself many times. Alka Selzer Gold is a better tasting alternative to baking soda alone (also very effective for treating allergy flare-ups in some people).

There are also a number of micronutrient deficiencies that can make you more susceptible to inflammation. Microtoxins can also aggravate things, particularly when combined with micronutrient deficiencies.

And of course ice is another good approach, particularly for acute and localized inflammation.

A231170e329756974c79cd8d2116351c

(103)

on March 31, 2010
at 04:45 PM

Would baking soda or antacids reduce stomach acidity too much (adversly affecting digestion), possibly leading to gut irritation? Or is that a moot issue if the baking soda or Alka Seltzer is taken, say, 3 hours before or after a meal?

5ebeec76e20738d0a17cd724d64b1e0f

(1922)

on April 02, 2010
at 12:36 AM

The effect of antacids, baking soda or Alka Gold on stomach acid is very short-lived. I wouldn't suggest taking it with or near a meal, but even if you did, keep in mind that most digestion happens enzymatically, not with stomach acid. Acid does help with the breakdown and absorption of certain minerals, though. Also, food itself has a similar body-wide effect to something like Alka Gold, which can be why some people feel better when they eat: Food causes the secretion of acid into the stomach, and at the same time, it causes the blood to become slightly alkaline.

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 09, 2010
at 03:39 AM

As a non-consumable but helpful solution, try using Epsom salts to soak in your bathtub. This can ease sore muscles and give you a boost of magnesium at the same time. Check out things like http://www.essortment.com/lifestyle/benefitsusesep_skry.htm

Also. when I had knee replacements and had inflammation I took bromelain and turmeric capsules to counteract the inflammation. It worked as well as the NSAID's they originally put me on, with a lot less health risk.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 20, 2010
at 07:22 PM

Same experience with Bromelain. For me this stuff is powerful and acts in a much better way than any NSAID. I had low iron and bromelain helped reduce inflammation so I could absorb iron more efficiently.

2
6b61d8a45ce6a9741cff86b59b21f825

(40)

on May 06, 2010
at 11:30 PM

+1 Fish Oil. Like 10000 mgs. ice. rest.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on May 07, 2010
at 07:15 PM

When did man discover ice has a help, I wonder.

1
5c88785e950688e1316ccc0de49e91f2

on July 26, 2010
at 08:13 PM

Krill oil can help with inflammatory symptoms:

The results of a Canadian study published in the American Journal of Nutrition highlighted the effects of krill oil with chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. The study was conducted by Western and McMaster Universities. The participants involved included 90 patients who were diagnosed with inflammatory conditions such as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and / or osteoarthritis. Results indicated that krill oil ???significantly inhibits inflammation and reduces arthritic symptoms within a short treatment period of 7 and 14 days.??? Researchers found that krill oil reduced pain scores by 28.9%, stiffness was reduced by 20.3% and functional impairment was reduced by 22.8%.

http://krilloil.com/benefits.html

1
Bcb2f5436d11467e89123680c046b858

(1356)

on May 06, 2010
at 12:39 PM

I just want to mention that Arnica is NOT to be taken internally except under the guidance of a professional! It's great applied to the skin, but only to unbroken skin.

86a7abe4a54c4dc15ea44bacef00c5a8

(523)

on May 07, 2010
at 03:07 AM

There is a homeopathic version of Arnica Montana available in a sublingual form. I believe Boiron makes one in little pellets.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on May 06, 2010
at 06:35 PM

Thanks Annika! :)

Bcb2f5436d11467e89123680c046b858

(1356)

on May 07, 2010
at 11:38 PM

Oh, good point! Homeopathic Arnica is fine taken internally - I was talking about the actual herb. I should have mentioned that. Thanks!

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on February 11, 2013
at 04:59 PM

Homeopathic *anything* is fine taken internally since there isn't any active ingredient, anyway.

1
Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 09, 2010
at 08:08 PM

Omega 3's, ginger, turmeric, and fresh pineapple. Also, we keep a supplement called Zyflamend around. Has ginger, turmeric, rosemary, etc. Excellent product.

1
279afb16db6c765ae91dde056f10d1d3

(155)

on March 09, 2010
at 08:02 PM

I second the ginger and the tumeric, also spices that contain capsaicin are supposed to relieve pain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin (I believe when topically applied, I don't know about internally) and also willow bark tea functions as very weak asprin. I don't know if it is the right thing to do but if you are in pain it is difficult to think about anything other than making the pain stop.

1
15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on March 09, 2010
at 06:12 PM

try turmeric .

Jay

1
22937fffe2210014f24939becf23b1b3

on March 09, 2010
at 07:06 AM

Ginger .

0
9f4d2201950c0d2a3a0c1e85f6d2d068

on April 26, 2012
at 09:51 AM

Have you tried turmeric with curcumin?

0
8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 29, 2010
at 01:58 PM

Reducing acute inflammation doesn't seem to be as wise of an idea as many people think: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/do-cortisone-shots-actually-make-things-worse/?ref=health

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on August 22, 2010
at 10:24 AM

What about Homeopathic Natural Remedies. Such as Arnica?

Applied topically it's a great anti inflammatory, Don't Eat It!

0
8d979bd4cf7036400254a9417638616d

on August 20, 2010
at 06:56 PM

As the first poster said it's definitely more important to avoid foods that cause inflammation which is the source of many of the carbs that are avoided in a paleo diet. Like others mentioned though sources of omaga 3 usually have this and it's one of the fish oil benefits that you probably heard of. Krill or fish both have this so whichever you like best.

-2
D9ff97c10d4fb29f9a2295306bda5fb2

on July 18, 2010
at 08:20 AM

I will take a look at all the blogs, thanks for sharing this list.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 29, 2010
at 02:14 PM

Is this just spam? "We're knights of the round table We dance when e're we're able We do routines and chorus scenes With footwork impecc-able We dine well here in Camelot We eat ham and jam and spam alot"

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