6 Ways to Combat Low-Grade Inflammation and Reduce Aging
Updated by Stephen Anton PhD on June 19th, 2020
New research shows evidence that low-grade inflammation is causing an increase in morbidity, mortality, and the aging process.
Luckily, there have been several studies that showcase how different treatments can help with this chronic condition.
What is Inflammation & What Does it Do?
Let’s start by mentioning that inflammation is a vital part of your body’s immune response.
Without inflammation, your body would not be able to heal itself after injury, repair damaged tissue, or defend itself against foreign invaders (such as viruses and bacteria). Without inflammation, wounds would fester, and infections could become deadly.
Inflammation can also be problematic, though, and it plays a role in some chronic decisions.
The Two Different Types of Inflammation
1) Acute Inflammation
Often seen as the “good type of inflammation” since it is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury
2) Chronic Inflammation
Otherwise known as the “bad type of inflammation” since it has long-term effects
Whether acute or chronic, inflammation is the body’s natural response to a problem. It makes us aware of issues that we might not otherwise acknowledge without inflammation as a warning sign.
Six Different Way’s to Combat Chronic Inflammation
The latest research shows several ways to address chronic inflammation. Below are the prescription drugs or supplements that may have a positive effect on low-grade inflammation.
1) Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
Angiotensin II is a very potent chemical formed in the blood that causes muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract, thereby narrowing the vessels. This narrowing increases the pressure within the vessels and can cause high blood pressure (hypertension).
How do Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers Work?
ARBs are medications that prevent angiotensin II from binding to muscles surrounding blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels enlarge (dilate), and blood pressure drops.
Reduced blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood, can improve heart failure, and slows the progression of kidney disease.
Metformin is a type of medicine used to treat high blood sugar levels that are caused by a type of diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes called type 2 diabetes. With this type of diabetes, insulin produced by the pancreas is not able to get sugar into the cells of the body where it can work properly.
Using metformin alone, with a type of oral antidiabetic medicine called a sulfonylurea, or with insulin, will help lower blood sugar when it is too high and help restore the way you use food to make energy.
Many people combine metformin with exercise and diet. Following a custom diet and exercise plan will always be important when you have diabetes, even when you are taking medicines.
To work well, you must balance the amount of metformin you take against the amount of food you eat, the type of food you eat, and the amount of exercise you do.
If you change your diet or exercise, you should test your blood sugar to find out if it drops to unsafe levels. Your doctor will teach you what to do if this happens.
3) Omega 3s
Omega-3 fatty acids, which we primarily get through eating fatty fish, have long been thought to be good for our health.
Many dietary studies have suggested that a high intake of Omega-3s is associated with a reduced risk of various disorders. Clinical trials have also shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in patients taking omega-3 supplements.
Recent research from NTNU supports previous discoveries and has also found new, useful effects of omega-3 supplements and how these lipids dampen harmful inflammatory reactions in the body.
In several studies, probiotics appear to lessen chronic low-grade inflammation, specifically this inflammatory marker C-reactive protein.
Now, what is very interesting is that it was not necessarily one probiotic. The probiotic used in each study was not the same. So, it seems that as a general class, probiotics tend to have the ability to reduce inflammation.
This is an important and encouraging finding. And I’ll quote the conclusion from the researches involved in this study:
“This meta-analysis suggests that probiotic administration may significantly reduce serum C-reactive protein.”
Again, C-reactive protein being a marker of inflammation that your doctor can easily run as a blood test.
According to a new study, the plant extract resveratrol appears to suppress inflammation and fight aging in humans.
The most common food sources of resveratrol include the skin of red grapes, wine, peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries.
6) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known to contribute to bone health by promoting the absorption of calcium.
In recent years, there’s been much attention placed on its possible immune and inflammatory benefits.
Low vitamin D levels have been associated with several diseases like asthma, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
Low-Grade Inflammation Conclusion
Our findings show that there is potential to significantly reduce inflammation in middle-aged and older adults by using ARBs, metformin, omega 3s, probiotics, resveratrol, and vitamin D.
Resveratrol and vitamin D, however, were not found to be effective in reducing markers of systemic inflammation in clinical trials conducted to date.
Ultimately, practical nutritional and pharmacological interventions targeting inflammation that are safe, affordable, and acceptable could represent new therapeutic opportunities toward the promotion of successful aging soon.
In specific, future studies should test if compounds that reduce systemic inflammation can avert the decline in mobility and physical function that typically occurs among older adults.