6 Anti Inflammatory Supplements That Actually Work

6 Anti Inflammatory Supplements That Actually Work

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Here’s why you should care about inflammation:

Reducing inflammation can help you lose weight, balance your hormones, reduce joint pain, sleep better, balance your immune system, age more gracefully, give you more energy, improve your cholesterol, reduce cardiovascular disease, and much more. 

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. 

When you look at inflammation from a 35,000-foot view, you start to see that it is really at the heart of pretty much every malady and disease that we know of, at least to some degree. 

This means controlling and regulating inflammation should be front and center if you want to live a healthy life. 

Before we talk more about controlling it, let’s at least define it. 

So what is inflammation and is it a bad thing? 

Not necessarily, in fact, inflammation can sometimes be a good thing. 

It is just the process by which your body identifies that something is wrong and inflammation is the response that your body uses to try and fix that problem. 

Inflammation, at least in the short term, can be a good thing. 

When you get a cut on your finger and it gets red, swollen, and tender, that’s inflammation and it’s helping your body heal your wound (1). 

Your body also uses the inflammatory pathways to help fight off infections from things like bacteria and viruses. 

In these cases, inflammation did something good! It helped your body get back to a normal state. 

So then how does inflammation become a problem and why are so many people worried about it? 

It isn’t until inflammation becomes prolonged (2) (chronic) that it starts to cause issues. 

Let’s go back to the example of the cut on the finger for an explanation. 

Most of the time, when you get a small cut on your finger it gets healed by the body rather quickly. 

But imagine now instead of getting healed that you keep bumping it or hitting it against something that doesn’t allow it to heal. 

If this process goes on long enough, the inflammation may become prolonged and may actually prevent healing. 

In this way, short-term inflammation is often beneficial to the body and long-term inflammation is often detrimental. 

And this sort of long-term chronic inflammation is the problem that most people (including you) are dealing with. 

This type of chronic inflammation stems from things like:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Gut issues
  • Lingering infections
  • Constant exposure to allergens, irritants, or chemicals
  • Consumption of inflammatory oils and processed foods
  • Lack of sleep
  • Constant and excessive stress
  • And lack of exercise

These are some of the most common drivers of the harmful type of inflammation that you don’t want in your body. 

And it is this type of inflammation that can be addressed by using the right supplements. 

Which is exactly what we are going to be discussing today. 

6 Anti-Inflammatory Supplements That Actually Work 

Before we talk about these supplements please consider this:

Each supplement that we will discuss is often beneficial for treating specific types of inflammation. 

For instance, we have inflammation that stems from the gut, we have inflammation that stems from allergies, we have inflammation that primarily targets your joints, and so on. 

What you will find is that even though these supplements are helpful for most cases of inflammation, they often shine when treating specific types of inflammation. 

So you may want to use certain supplements if you are experiencing inflammation in your joints versus inflammation from environmental allergies and so on. 

I will let you know which supplements tend to work best in which conditions as we go through them. 

#1. Alpha-lipoic acid

First up we have alpha-lipoic acid often abbreviated as ALA. 

Alpha-lipoic acid is a compound with antioxidant properties commonly found in plants. 

Plants that contain high levels of ALA include (3):

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Red meat
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Peas
  • And carrots

You will find that many of the ingredients we will be discussing today are naturally occurring in certain plants which is one of the reasons why a whole-food diet is so great for treating inflammation! 

Many of these supplements take the active compounds in these plants and concentrate them into a capsule that you can take daily. 

While this strategy is great, I would also strongly encourage you to make sure you consume as many of these plants as possible in your diet as well. 

list of anti inflammatory supplements

Doing this will yield even better results. 

Even though alpha-lipoic acid does have a beneficial effect on treating broad-based inflammatory diseases, it is especially helpful in treating inflammation from diabetes and diabetes complications such as peripheral neuropathy. 

If you are suffering from diabetes (4), pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, elevated hgb A1c, weight gain, or peripheral neuropathy (5) then ALA is a great option to consider for inflammation control. 

To get the anti-inflammatory benefits you will want to use a dose somewhere between 600mg and 1,800mg per day. 

If possible, try to get a sustained-release version of ALA instead of an immediate release. 

The longer you can keep blood levels of ALA sustained (6), the better impact you will have on inflammation. 

Sustained-release ALA is often more expensive compared to regular versions but the expense is worth it (in this case). 

Not only does alpha lipoic acid assist with reducing inflammation, it may also help with weight loss, especially when combined with berberine.

#2. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)

Next, we have a compound called methylsulfonylmethane (7), or MSM for short. 

MSM is naturally found in green vegetables, algae, fruits, adrenal glands, and milk. 

While we know that MSM helps target inflammation we aren’t 100% sure how it works. 

It is believed that it helps improve how nutrients are being shuttled in and out of your cells. 

Your cells have a protective membrane around them known as the phospholipid bilayer (8). 

This polar membrane is designed to keep bad things from getting in while allowing good things to enter. 

Certain states, including inflammation, can disrupt how well this process occurs. 

In other words, your cells become “leaky” in the sense that they are no longer being protected. 

It is suspected that the consumption of industrial seed oils (such as those found commonly in processed foods and fast foods) disrupts this membrane when fatty acids are incorporated into the membrane in place of other types of fats. 

Disruption to your cellular membrane can lead to all sorts of problems including a reduction in energy production (9) from your mitochondria and damage to your cells. 

Neither of these is ideal. 

Taking MSM may help to support the structure and function of your cellular membranes such that they become less leaky and better able to perform their protective function. 

In other words, they help good things get into your cells and prevent bad things from getting in. 

Because of this, MSM is often used as an anti-inflammatory supplement to help with detoxification. 

So if you suspect that an overload of endocrine-disrupting chemicals is the cause of your inflammation then using MSM is probably preferred over other types of anti-inflammatory supplements. 

MSM is also ideal for those suffering from joint pain, arthritis, and osteoarthritis. 

For best results, you will want to take between 1,000mg and 1,500mg of MSM split into 500mg doses throughout the day. 

#3. Quercetin

Third on the list is a compound known as quercetin. 

Quercetin is a flavonoid and it is primarily found in leafy greens, tomatoes, berries, and broccoli. 

Flavonoids are groups of nutrients found specifically in fruits and vegetables. 

Certain types of fruits and vegetables contain specific types of flavonoids and you can use these flavonoids to treat specific conditions. 

Quercetin happens to be very effective at treating the following conditions:

Quercetin is often complexed with bromelain (which we will be discussing in a moment) because they complement one another in terms of how and what they treat. 

I find quercetin is great for inflammation that stems from the intestinal tract starting from the nose and running down into your intestines. 

People who suffer from things like allergies, acid reflux, intestinal dysbiosis, and leaky gut, often benefit the most from quercetin. 

The ideal dose of quercetin that you’d want to take each day is somewhere between 500mg and 1,000mg per day. 

If you are treating allergies or asthma then combine quercetin with bromelain (more on that below). 

#4. Fish oil

Fish oil is an oldie but a goodie and one that you are probably well familiar with. 

Fish oil is simply concentrated fats that naturally occur in fish, hence the name fish oil (in reference to the fat). 

Why is fish oil so good for your health?

Because it contains specific types of fats called omega-3 fatty acids. 

These omega-3 fatty acids help to balance the impact of other types of fatty acids, especially omega-6 fatty acids. 

You can think about it like this:

Omega 6 fatty acids act as a gas pedal on pro-inflammatory pathways inside your cells. 

Omega 3 fatty acids act as a brake on these same pathways. 

Because of this, your body is playing a game of tug of war between the two. 

Due to the standard American diet (12), most people consume way more omega-6 fatty acids than they do omega-3 fatty acids. 

Taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (such as fish oil) helps to balance this tug-of-war thereby reducing inflammation. 

More important than your total omega 3 or omega 6 fatty acid concentration is the ratio between the two. 

So for best results, you will want to consume more omega 3 fatty acids while also decreasing consumption of omega 6 fatty acids simultaneously. 

People who tend to benefit the most from fish oil include:

  • People with heart disease (13)
  • People trying to lose weight
  • Those with depression
  • Those with high cholesterol or high triglycerides
  • Those with broad-based inflammation
  • Those trying to support immune function
  • Those with autoimmune conditions

If you aren’t sure where to start and you want a good all-around supplement to treat inflammation then fish oil is the one to use. 

It is particularly good at treating autoimmune conditions, helping with weight loss, and treating high cholesterol, but it also helps in a number of other conditions as well. 

For best results, you will want to use around 500mg to 2,000mg per day. 

Pay special attention to the DHA and EPA content of the fish oil you are consuming and less attention to the total mg component. 

Quality fish oils will have higher concentrations of DHA and EPA per mg compared to lower-quality supplements. 

In addition, you can also reduce the total dose needed by looking for special delivery systems that allow for sustained blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. 

If you are using a sustained-release version then you can get away with a lower dose. 

For really difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression or weight gain, look at using a higher dose in the range of 2,000mg to 4,000mg of fish oil per day. 

Again, make sure to combine fish oil supplements with foods high in naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids such as wild-caught fish. 

#5. Bromelain

You can think of bromelain as really the sister or brother to quercetin. 

Bromelain isn’t so much a compound as it is a group of enzymes found in pineapple. 

Eating pineapple, or taking a bromelain supplement, provides you with this entire group of enzymes. 

And it is these enzymes that have the beneficial effects on inflammation that you want. 

These enzymes can assist with the digestion of food (thereby reducing inflammation from foods), the digestion of immune complexes in the body, and help to improve gut health and microbial diversity. 

Because of this, bromelain is best used to treat conditions such as:

  • Allergic rhinitis (14)
  • Asthma
  • Food allergies
  • Sinus infections
  • Acid reflux
  • Leaky gut
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic runny nose

You will find that bromelain is often found together with quercetin as well as vitamin C and these 3 nutrients work very well together. 

For best results, use a dose of 500mg two to three times per day. 

You can take your bromelain with a meal to assist with digestion. 

#6. Curcumin/Turmeric

Lastly, we have the most well-studied anti-inflammatory supplement ingredient on the market and that is curcumin. 

Curcumin is found in Turmeric which is a spice. 

Because of this, you will often see turmeric and curcumin used interchangeably even though there is a slight difference. 

Supplements that contain curcumin are often more powerful than those that contain turmeric because they contain the concentrated active ingredient. 

Having said that, you can still get plenty of benefits from consuming turmeric as a spice as well. 

It’s usually easy to spot if something has turmeric in it because of its characteristic yellow color! 

Turmeric and curcumin are well known to most people, at least in the natural health arena, because they contain thousands of studies (15) showing how effective they can be. 

Curcumin has been shown to help reduce inflammation (16), fight diabetes (17), balance blood sugar (18), prevent cancer (19), treat Alzheimer’s (20), manage arthritis (21), fight depression (22), and much more. 

Because of this, I consider curcumin to be one of the best supplements to fight general inflammation in the body. 

In other words, if you aren’t sure where to start and you want to fight inflammation, curcumin would be a great choice (along with fish oil). 

Curcumin is also great for treating metabolic issues such as metabolic syndrome, weight gain, diabetes, and insulin resistance. 

Pretty much the only drawback to using curcumin is that it is difficult for your body to absorb it when you take it by mouth. 

For this reason, you will often find curcumin complexed with black pepper or something called Bioperine (23). 

If you are cooking with turmeric or using it to make a smoothie or a healthy drink, you will often find that the recipe includes a few cranks of fresh black pepper. 

Using black pepper has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin (24) so that you can get it inside your body where you want it. 

The ideal dose for curcumin is around 500mg per day but doses can vary quite dramatically. 

Curcumin is usually well tolerated but I have run into a handful of people who have issues related to estrogen and testosterone when using it. 

So do keep an eye out for those if you decide to take it. 

Honorable Mentions (Supplements that didn’t make the list)

Believe it or not, this list is really just the tip of the iceberg. 

There are plenty of other ingredients that can be used to fight inflammation. 

A couple that didn’t make the main list but I will mention here include:

  • Watercress – Ideal for treating those with inflammation from autoimmune disease and supporting hair, skin, and nails. 
  • Green tea extract – Ideal for assisting with detoxification and for improving inflammation in the liver. 
  • Glycosaminoglycans – Great for assisting with inflammation leading to weight gain and treating leptin resistance
  • Ginger – Great for arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint pain. 

Final Thoughts & How To Use Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

Supplements can be an incredibly useful and effective tool for helping you get control of inflammation. 

The supplements that I listed above are some of my favorites but there are many others. 

In order to really get a handle on inflammation, I recommend combining several types of supplements together for the best results. 

That means using at least 2 or 3 different anti-inflammatory supplements simultaneously. 

Each supplement works via a slightly different mechanism so combining them often gives you more benefit than using just one at a time. 

In addition, try to target your supplementation to the issue you are experiencing. 

If your inflammation is leading to joint pain, for instance, then look for anti-inflammatory supplements that are better at targeting your joints. 

If your inflammation is leading to weight gain then look for anti-inflammatory supplements that are better at targeting conditions such as insulin resistance and leptin resistance. 

If you are looking to just live a healthier life and reduce overall inflammation then look for supplements that have more broad anti-inflammatory support. 

As always, make sure you use supplements with healthy lifestyle changes such as eating whole foods with lots of fruits and veggies, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress. 

The combination of these changes with supplements should help you reduce inflammation and feel better! 

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you struggling or dealing with inflammation right now?

If so, what type of issues are you experiencing?

Are you currently taking any supplements to try and fight inflammation? If so, which ones?

Are you thinking about taking any of the supplements listed above? If so, which ones?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

Scientific References

#1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21740602/

#2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/

#3. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/lipoic-acid

#4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3221300/

#5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272801/

#6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19403400/

#7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372953/

#8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26871/

#9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952932/

#10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/

#11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7227109/

#12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21139124/

#13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20699674/

#14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24273953/

#15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/

#16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19594223/

#17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8126655/

#18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857752/

#19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7446227/

#20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/

#21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27533649/

#22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7728608/

#23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353321/

#24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918523/

the best anti inflammatory supplements

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About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 80,000+ people have used them over the last 7 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do.

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#1. Get my free thyroid downloads, resources, and PDFs here.

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43 thoughts on “6 Anti Inflammatory Supplements That Actually Work”

  1. I want to say Thanks!!!!
    I had been following you for a long time on Pinterest and the more I read the more I saw that what you were saying was exactly what I heard for years ;based on my own experience and in spite of having had a history of crashing after trying many alternatives I decided to give your products a try.
    I am 59 and I feel better than I have in years both physically and emotionally.
    The cellulite that used to cover the muscles I worked so hard for is disappearing and I probably forgot to mention others!!!!

  2. Selenium, magnesium and Ubiquinol (coencyme Q10) are also great anti-inflammatory supplements. Thanks a lot for your blog D. Childs, you are the best to be found on the Internet! You have helped me A LOT with my Hashi, big hug from Spain! You have a great fan here in Madrid.

  3. Hi , dr Westin I just read a article you wrote on relora. Full of information . More than I have found anywhere else. It is in one of my supplements with holy basil and magnesium L taurine Ltheanine . They are all combined in the bottle I take. I have chronic anxiety for years. Doctor wants me on Zoloft been afraid to do that . I am struggling so bad. I am 61 year old woman. If I do give in and start taking Zoloft would I have to give up my anxiety supplements I think they do help but maybe not strong enough. will they help or interact My doctor had know idea about herbs she said . and the pharmacist told me the same thing. Not educated in herbs. I saw you are educated in western medicine as well as herbs. I keep researching but can’t find anyone who been educated in both. So just want to know do I have to I
    choose or could my supplement enhance my recovery.

    • Hi Tammy,

      For the most part, supplements and herbs that help with anxiety/depression can also be used in conjunction with medications that treat the same condition. This isn’t true for all supplements but there’s a good chance that they won’t interfere. If you’ve given herbs/supplements a shot for several months and are not seeing improvement then you may want to consider prescription medication alternatives either by themselves or in combination with supplements/herbs.

  4. I ripped the cartilage in my left knee years ago. I just started having problems which I think could have something to do with this injury. All around my knee seems stiff. Would an anti inflammatory help? I am doing some exercises for my knees but they do not seem to be helping very much

    • Hi Bev,

      In an acute injury (such as the one you sustained) you may find some relief using anti-inflammatory supplements. They aren’t likely to repair the cartilage but they may help reduce the swelling and pain. There are potentially some other therapies you can look at to strengthen the surrounding ligaments and muscles which can also further stabilize the knee. These should be used in conjunction with supplements for best results.

  5. A good quality Omega-3 at least 4000 mg/day seems to have solved completely the beginning and still very mild inflammation in every hand knuckle in both hands, and took the edge off of a more severely-inflamed thumb joint. Insurance companies should consider setting up a branch for educating patients as they approach the age for onset of rheumatoid arthritis on the shocking number of organs that seem to be silently and seriously damaged at the same time. Clinical trials of natural supplements such as Omega-3, which is extraordinarily effective on early RH, might could save everyone a lot of money as they save our health. This would be extremely cost effective and safe, and a whole lot cheaper than prescription drugs with dangerous side-effects with long-term use. OTC costs run at least $30/month, and would be a fantastic return on their investment without Big Pharma drugs. It makes good sense.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I am not. Generally, you would want to pick and choose the ones that you need based on your own personal needs. The dosing for each is quite high so it wouldn’t really be feasible to take them all in 1 capsule.

  6. I had been taking a Turmeric with Curcumin and Bioperine supplement for quite awhile now and it was always one of my favorites. In reading about the Curcumin supplement listed above and the handful of people with issues, I just want to say that my last bloodwork showed that my testosterone and DHEA levels were low and that makes me sad! I had a diagnosis of DCIS and because of that I liked taking Curcumin. Doctor gave me some DHEA pills and honestly I don’t like taking them because of my past diagnosis. Can I still take Curcumin and maybe ask my doctor for a prescription for testosterone gel or cream??? I don’t like playing around with my hormones because I don’t know how my body will react to DHEA!

    • Hi Diane,

      There are some studies that show that curcumin has anti-cancer effects so it may be worthwhile exploring the option of the combination of curcumin + testosterone.

  7. Thank you for a really informative article.
    You mention Curcumin might cause problems with estrogen and testosterone- What does it cause to happen to the hormones? I am working with a functional dr here in South Africa and trying to get my extremely high estrogen down. I am taking turmeric to lower Hashimotos inflammation. Could that be a problem?

    • I have added Pregnenolone as a supplement to bring estrogen down. Your doc will need to order it from The Compounding Pharmacy if you’re in Cape Town.

  8. I would love to take ALA and a while ago I bought some. But since I’m on an anticoagulant for atrial fibrillation, I discovered that the advice is not to take it:
    Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID. Alpha-lipoic acid might slow blood clotting. Taking alpha-lipoic acid along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
    I notice that in your recommendations you don’t include warnings of negative interactions – if I hadn’t done the research I could be in trouble from following your suggestions.
    Maybe you should mention any contraindications for supplements?

  9. I have read in the past that quercetine inhibit thyroid function. I have hypothyroidism and hashis, I would like to hear your professional opinion in regards to this please.

    • Hi Monica,

      To my knowledge, those studies were in animals (not humans) but it’s been a while since I’ve looked at them. I’ve personally never seen thyroid problems from taking quercetin in humans, at least in my own experience.

  10. So I fear I am on the verge of being diagnosed with MS and wanted to reduce the overall inflammation in n my body which I’m sure I have. I am prediabetic have PCOS and saw in research the inflammation may aggravate MS symptoms. I was thinking starting with the omega 3 and tumeric. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Michelle,

      You really can’t go wrong with any of the supplements listed here. They are all pretty cheap and the risk of problems when using them is minimal so there’s really no reason not to use trial and error. The ones you mentioned are a fine place to start.

  11. I was diagnosed with PMR and i dont want to be on prendisone long term. Looking for a supplement protocol for this condition. Do you have any suggestions thank you.

    • Hi Mark,

      I’m not sure you will be able to substitute supplements for prednisone in PMR but, admittedly, I’m not an expert at treating that particular disease state. If you wanted to try supplements then any of the general anti-inflammatory supplements would probably be your best bet.

  12. After reading this article, I started taking MSM and really felt a difference. The joints in my hands feel more flexible and I have far less pain. Thank you for this information.

  13. What are your thoughts on DMSO. Seems to work quite well on my feet that have a lot of nerve damage. I mix it 50/50 with distilled water. I nscit on with unscented Kleenex or toilet paper. QTips for the toes.

  14. I have read that Boswellia is also anti-inflammatory especially when combined with Turmeric. Do you recommend its use?

    • Hi Jeanne,

      It is anti-inflammatory and can be used. I think it’s better for brain-related conditions but you can try it if you’d like for more general inflammation.

  15. In regards to your comment “Curcumin is usually well tolerated but I have run into a handful of people who have issues related to estrogen and testosterone when using it.” How does this effect those on Bioidentical HRT? Does Curcumin lower or raise Testosterone and Estrogen?


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