The 7 Best Anti-Inflammatory Supplements of 2020
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the commercials and conversations around supplements? Have you thought about starting your own supplement routine but you honestly have no clue where to begin?
Great, you’ve come to the right place! Today we will be addressing the best anti-inflammatory supplements, your secret weapon against life’s biggest stressors.
We’ve already dug deep into the most anti-inflammatory foods on the planet, the most anti-inflammatory breakfast foods, as well as foods that cause inflammation in the body. Cleaning up our nutrition and focusing on fighting inflammation with all-natural, whole-foods, always needs to be the first priority. However, rarely can we obtain all the essential vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants from food to fight the stress and inflammation from our busy lives.
So, there is just one major category missing…
The best anti-inflammatory supplements!
And while nothing will ever take the place of fresh, colorful food, there is nothing quite like a high quality, anti-inflammatory supplement to support the positive effects of those foods.
If there was a sure-fire way to control the nutrient content of our soil, the stress in our lives, and the consistency of our sleep and exercise, then supplements would barely be on our radar. But as you’ve learned by now, that is certainly not the case. As a result, most of us could benefit from being proactive by incorporating a few quality supplements into our routine each day. For some FWDfuel readers, it has been life-changing.
Alright, now let’s jump in and learn about the BEST anti inflammatory supplements that you need to consider fueling up with right now.
Note: please be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any form of nutrition supplementation. It is important to have a provider who knows your unique medical history, symptoms, possible medication interactions etc.
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The Best Anti Inflammatory Supplements
Perhaps bone health and sunlight is what comes to your mind when you hear “Vitamin D.”
However, here’s a little newsflash…
It is widely recognized that vitamin D plays an important role in the modulation of the inflammatory system by regulating the production of inflammatory proteins (cytokines) and immune cells, which are crucial for the development of many immune-related diseases.
In fact, one study showed that individuals with adequate vitamin D levels did not experience the inflammatory cascade in the body whereas those with subpar vitamin D levels failed to inhibit the inflammatory cascade.
In other words, vitamin D serves as protective armor within the body, a silent warrior if you will. More and more research is now surfacing that shows adequate vitamin D levels are crucial when it comes to preventing serious health conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disease.[3,4]
While I wish we could all eat egg yolks until we are blue in the face in order to obtain sufficient vitamin D levels, it is best to supplement with a high-quality supplement. This is especially important for those of us who live in areas of the world with less than optimal sunlight.
Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the best form of vitamin D. D3 is the natural form of vitamin D and it is what our body makes when we are exposed to sunlight. While some of our athletes do not notice a difference with vitamin D supplementation, others report improved mood, better sleep, less achy joints/low back pain, and a slight increase in energy.
There are thousands of vitamin D supplements on the market, but our favorite for health maintenance is the liquid form by Pure Encapsulations (Check Wellevate for the best prices). It is odorless, flavorless, and its tiny size makes it convenient for travel. One drop equals 1000 IU which is awesome if you would prefer to alter your dosage throughout the season. Perhaps your doctor has requested 2000 IU for maintenance, but you feel better bumping up to 5000 IU when you are sick, you are going through a week of intense training, or during the winter months.
For those with a formal diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, discuss optimal dosing with your physician. Klean Athlete makes an excellent form of D3 where 5,000 IU can be found in one capsule and Thorne offers 10,000 IU in one capsule.
Lastly, be sure to take your D3 with a meal as vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is best absorbed with food.
Pro Tip: You can find both of these products on Amazon, however, our insider secret is to check out Wellevate. Wellevate offers professional-grade supplements at the best prices. FWDfuel readers will receive 20% off all orders and free shipping over $49. Unfortunately, we cannot provide direct links to products with Wellevate, but a quick search (refresh your browser after searching if you have an issue) is all you need to find great products at an amazing price.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
The ability of omega 3 rich fish oil to fight inflammation is incredibly impressive. There are very, very few other nutrients that have been proven to fight/improve heart disease, depression, joint pain, vision, cognition, obesity, irritable bowel, psoriasis, dermatitis, brain development in infants, asthma, allergies, ADHD, and bone health. [5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16]
Any good dietitian will tell you, if there is one supplement that all humans should consider taking, regardless of their health status- it would be professional grade fish oil.
It’s important to note that our body cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA and ALA) so it is crucial for us to get this through diet and supplementation. While we highly recommend you speak with your doctor first before beginning any form of supplementation, you will find that most research would suggest beginning with 1,000-2,000 mg fish oil daily.
One major benefit of supplementing with professional-grade fish oil from a trusted company vs. loading up on omega 3-rich fish each day is the ability to control the amount of mercury and other toxins ingested.
For example, Nordic Naturals, our favorite company which is also Friend of the Sea certified, uses third-party independent laboratory testing to test each product to ensure freshness, potency, and purity. Nordic Naturals promises no risk of toxicity including heavy metals and even offers a Certificate of Analysis upon request.
An added bonus to supplementing with omega 3s as your primary source for them is that consistency is guaranteed when choosing to acquire most of your omega 3’s from high-quality supplementation vs food sources which vary. Supplementation is especially helpful for those of us who may not have access to or enjoy the taste of wild-caught salmon, tuna, mackerel etc.
The Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega “burpless” fish oil is our favorite fish oil. This comes in lemon and strawberry flavors, and offers a 1280mg blend of high-quality fish oil. The best part? The capsules are small, making this fish oil particularly awesome for those who tend to gag.
As for the athlete on the hunt for an NSF Certified for Sport version, we would recommend the Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega D3 Sport. This product contains 1480 mg of Omega 3 and 1000 IU of vitamin D. Nothing like hitting two birds with one stone!
You know this wouldn’t be a true anti inflammatory supplement article if we didn’t have a greens powder mentioned somewhere!
PaleoGreens by Designs for Health is our #1 pick for a portable, great tasting, powdered vegetable/antioxidant supplement. We highly recommend the lemon lime flavor. Just mix in water for a mid-morning snack or afternoon boost.
We know that you know how important it is to consume a wide variety of fruits and veggies each day, but is it realistic that each of us consumes the proper amount 7 days a week? For most of us, sadly, the answer is no. We want you to make colorful veggies your main priority, but on the days that it just doesn’t happen, consider taking a serving of Designs for Health PaleoGreens (Check Wellevate for the best prices).
This powder contains powerful and complex nutrients such as blueberries, spinach, kale, broccoli, camu camu, chlorella, wheatgrass, spirulina and so much more. If anything, give it a try for 30 days and take note of your energy level, bowel habits, and complexion.
We promise not to beat a dead horse with turmeric over here as you may have read our article on The Best Turmeric Supplements to Fight Inflammation but, turmeric is such a well-researched anti inflammatory agent, that we would be doing you a disservice if we did not briefly touch upon it again in this post which outlines all the top supplements to fight inflammation.
It is somewhat unbelievable how many articles have been published regarding turmeric’s ability to tackle inflammation in the human body. There is data suggesting that everything from joint pain to digestion, Crohn’s Disease to heart disease, depression to cancer and cognition to eczema has the ability to improve with consistent turmeric supplementation.[17,18]
We are constantly asked, “what are the best supplements for inflammation and pain?” Turmeric/curcumin is at the top of the list every time. We’ve had many clients who have been able to gradually stop their pain medications as we ramped up their turmeric supplementation for several weeks.
Your doctor or dietitian can guide you as to when and how much turmeric is best for you. Although, a very safe, general recommendation would be to take 500-600mg of extended-release turmeric root (curcuma longa) once daily with a balanced meal. If you are someone who feels achy or swollen when waking up in the morning, consider supplementing at dinner.
Our favorite form of turmeric for the non-athlete is Theracurmin HP by Integrative Therapeutics and for all of our athletes out there looking for a high-quality NSF Certified for Sport version, Meriva by Thorne (Check Wellevate for the best prices) is a perfect choice.
Interested in learning more about the difference between Turmeric or Curcumin and what other turmeric/curcumin supplements are available out there? Check out our post: The Best Turmeric Supplements to Fight Inflammation
So many of us are busy downing magnesium to support a perfect bowel movement and prevent muscle cramps, but very few of us realize magnesium’s capacity to fight inflammation.
Magnesium reduces the inflammatory marker known as CRP and plays a large role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Magnesium is so powerful, that when levels are low, research suggests a very strong link to chronic inflammation – this goes for children as well.[19,20,21]
Magnesium supplementation will be different for each individual, with most recommended doses falling between the range of 200-600 mg/day. Wee recommend taking magnesium 1 hour before bed for optimal sleep and relaxation. (Check out Kylene’s magnesium chewables that she uses with the Cleveland Cavaliers!)
If you are more prone to constipation, magnesium citrate is your best option and we recommend Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (Citrate). If you are a Regular Ralph, check out magnesium glycinate (we recommend Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (Glycinate)). If your doctor has recommended a magnesium blend, we love and personally use the Magnesium 300 by Innate Response which contains a combination of magnesium glycinate, citrate and malate all in one. Check Wellevate for the best prices here.
If there is one major dictator of oxidative stress and detoxification in our body, it is Nrf2. As you may have read in our previous posts regarding foods that cause inflammation and foods that fight inflammation, free radicals cause us to detoxify more slowly and therefore age more quickly. Ultimately, this will lead to a decline in health.
Nrf2 is essentially the big controller of our antioxidants. A mentor of ours once said, “Think of Nrf2 as the sprinkler system in your office building. It sits there silently in the shadows until the building catches on fire. If the sprinkler system is adequately filled with water and does not contain any defects, the fire will deescalate appropriately. If the sprinkler is broken, the building will likely burn down.”
By the way, if you want to sound smart at your next party, it is pronounced “nerf-two.”
Our body’s “sprinkler system” is known as Keap 1. Keap 1 releases Nrf2 and stimulates something called the antioxidant response element (ARE). In other words, Nrf2 is the “water” and free radicals are the “fire”. Also important to note is that Nrf2 makes the enzymes responsible for making, using, and recycling glutathione (see above). Nrf2 also plays a role in the way iron is metabolized in our body.
As practitioners, we’ve seen that clients with variants in their Nrf2 genes tend to battle chronic, obscure inflammatory conditions that are difficult to resolve. Good news though for those who are suffering, the antioxidant resveratrol (berries, the skin of grapes, dark chocolate,) sulforaphane (kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli) turmeric and milk thistle help to enhance Nrf2 activity. Nrf2 Detox by Pure Encapsulations (Check Wellevate for the best prices) is an awesome supplement in order to ensure the ingestion of these critical nutrients.
It is best to take one capsule of Nrf2 Detox with each meal for a total of three capsules daily.
A Multivitamin to Fight Oxidative Stress
For our readers who prefer to stick with minimal supplements, a well-rounded multivitamin is a great start.
While there are a number of awesomely comprehensive multi-vitamins on the market, there is one in particular that successfully targets inflammation and oxidative stress, Phytomulti by Metagenics.
This little miracle worker contains a blend of 13 concentrated extracts and phytonutrients with scientifically tested biological activity to support cellular health. Phytomulti goes beyond basic nutritional support and promotes DNA stability while reversing cellular damage after exposure to oxidative stress. There are very few multivitamins that can offer this type of support.
Take Home Message
In summary, when combined with an anti-inflammatory diet, proper vitamin and mineral supplementation can be a true game-changer when it comes to fighting chronic inflammation. But, instead of going and buying every single supplement mentioned in this article, we encourage you to connect with a functional dietitian to help you map out the best approach for your unique goals and health history.
If there is anything we have learned in this business, it is that most people do not realize how poorly they actually felt until they finally take the steps towards change and then stay consistent with that change for several months. Rome wasn’t built in a day and therefore your chronic fatigue, sinusitis, joint pain etc. will not disappear in a day.
And, let’s also be clear on something else…
The best anti-inflammatory supplements will never, ever mask poor sleep habits, lack of meditation, and a highly-processed diet. However, when we slowly chip away at all of these elements over time, we can experience a level of health we never thought to be possible, no matter our age or activity level.
Ready to take the next step? Check out our posts on 17 Foods That Cause Inflammation in the Body and The 10 Strongest Anti Inflammatory Foods on Earth to learn what foods you should and should not be eating right now.