What to Look for when Considering Supplements to Help Reduce Inflammation

Diet and lifestyle changes are my first step in reducing chronic inflammation, but sometimes they are just not enough.  Supplements can be a very helpful addition to an inflammation-reducing protocol when added to a diet rich in real, whole foods and accompanied by healthy lifestyle habits.

That said, if you are eating a diet high in processed foods, not sleeping enough, are sedentary, or are not managing stress, adding a handful of supplements is probably not going to make much of a difference in helping to lower chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can cause a host of symptoms across the whole body. Digestive issues, brain fog, cardiovascular disease, blood sugar imbalances, chronic aches and pains, weight gain, and autoimmune disease are all signs that the body is struggling to manage inflammation.

Many of us suffer from low-grade chronic inflammation for a long time before we actually get diagnosed with a disease. We just may feel like we don’t have the energy we once had or that we are “getting older.”


Supplements that help Reduce Inflammation

When I think of supplements that help reduce inflammation, a few come to mind. They include:

  • omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil
  • curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric)
  • resveratrol (red grapes)
  • epigallocatechin (green tea and green tea extract)
  • vitamin D (sunlight, fish, and mushrooms)
  • vitamin C (citrus, red peppers, strawberries)
  • supplements that help support a healthy gut microbiome, such as probiotics (yogurt, kimchi, tofu, sauerkraut), and short-chain fatty acids or prebiotics (fibers found in foods that we do not digest, but our gut microbiome does)
Supplement Safety
When you are considering taking supplements, get recommendations that are personalized for you and your specific set of circumstances. Seek advice from a professional that has training with nutrients and supplements. Typically this would be a licensed healthcare practitioner.
  • Check with your healthcare provider to make sure that the supplements you are interested in taking are not contraindicated with any medical conditions you have or medications or supplements you are already taking.
  • Look for supplements that have been third-party tested. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and you want to make sure that you are getting what the bottle says is inside. Look for the GMP, Good Manufacturing Practice, stamp on the bottle, and seek out supplements without added fillers and colorings.
  • Buy your supplements from a supplier that will guarantee the quality of the supplements. Third-party resellers usually do not guarantee that their supplements have been stored at proper temperatures.
  • Look for independent studies of the ingredients on a supplement company’s website so that you can see if you are getting a therapeutic dose. Sometimes this is not possible, but you still want to make sure that you are taking the right amount of any supplement for you. Too much can cause unwanted side effects or may even be harmful, and not enough will not help lower inflammation.
  • Start one new supplement at a time so that you can identify the source if you have negative reactions. Make sure to ask when and how to take each supplement. Some supplements are best taken with food and others without. Vitamin D, which is a fat-soluble vitamin, for example, is absorbed best when taken with a little bit of fat in a meal or with fish oil. Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements usually don’t work overnight or without a supportive diet and lifestyle habits.
Next Steps
Interested in learning more about steps you can take to reduce chronic inflammation? Let’s set up a time to talk. If you are new to Barbara Sobel Nutrition, book an exploratory call (for new clients) or a follow-up visit (for existing clients) at book an appointment so we can dive deeper together.