What Are Anti-Inflammatory Supplements for Weight Loss?
When you read the title of this article “anti-inflammatory supplements for weight loss,” your first thought may have been, “What does inflammation have to do with weight loss?” The short answer is a lot more than you might think.
Before we look at specific supplements, let’s first take a look at inflammation. For example, what is it? And what does it do to the body? Then we can dive into how inflammation affects weight loss and the lifestyle changes that can affect both.
What Is Inflammation and How Does It Impact Weight Loss or Gain?
You’ve probably heard that inflammation is negative and you want to suppress it. It is, after all, the cause of many chronic disease states.
However, inflammation is actually a natural, normal, and vital part of your immune system’s response to injury and infection. The body uses acute inflammation as a signal to the immune system to start the healing and repair process for damaged tissues. It also helps defend against foreign invaders (such as viruses and bacteria). 1
Without the inflammatory response, wounds fester, and even minor infections could become deadly.
Let’s say, for example, that you get a cut on your hand, you sprain your ankle during a hike, or you start coming down with a cold and your throat starts feeling scratchy. The body responds locally with redness, swelling, heat, and depending on the injury, perhaps pain and loss of movement or function. This acute inflammation is caused the by the dilation of blood vessels to increase blood flow, sending in a swarm of white blood cells (a key part of the immune response) to stimulate the healing process.
In addition, other natural healing chemicals like cytokines are sent to the damaged tissues to help bring in more immune cells, hormones, and nutrients. Other hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins can be sent in to create blood clots to heal damaged tissue or trigger heat (i.e., fever) or pain.
Chronic Inflammation and It’s Impact on Weight Gain and Obesity
Issues only arise when the inflammatory process has been prolonged or happens where it’s not needed. This is called chronic inflammation. And it’s why inflammation has such a bad rap.
To begin with, chronic inflammation can last several months to even years. What’s worse is this slow, long-term inflammation has been referred to as “a unifying theory of disease.” 2
In fact, it’s been linked to:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart disorders
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cancer and tumor progression 3
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Leaky gut syndrome (aka intestinal permeability)
- ALS 4
- Chronic respiratory diseases
- Weight gain and obesity
- Arthritis and joint diseases
- Asthma and allergies
Furthermore, chronic inflammation often runs under the radar. Thus, neither we nor our healthcare practitioners know it’s affecting us. Still, there are some common signs of inflammation to watch for, such as:
- body pain
- brain fog
- depression and anxiety
- gastrointestinal complaints (like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux)
- mouth sores and skin issues
- joint pain
- weight gain or loss
- increased belly fat
- and frequent infections
But symptoms can be subtle. In addition, inflammation can often be found from a blood test that indicates a rise in immune system marketers (such as C-reactive protein or CRP). And sometimes, that’s the only indication. Yet even if we aren’t aware of it or don’t have symptoms, chronic inflammation can be causing damage and increasing our risk of disease.
Causes of Chronic Inflammation
The big question then is what causes chronic inflammation? In short, when the body perceives a threat, even if there isn’t an injury or disease to combat, low levels of inflammation can be turned on. Once triggered, the body responds with a flood of white blood cells. Yet now, they don’t have anything to do or anywhere to go. In response, they can sometimes start attacking healthy cells, tissues, or organs.
Researchers are still studying all of the implications, but theories include the buildup of plaque in arteries can increase and prolong inflammation. In response, the body could try to wall off plaque. This could then increase the risk of heart disease or stroke due to lack of blood flow. 5 Doctors have also suggested that chronic inflammation could damage DNA, which could eventually lead to cancer. 6
Other causes of chronic inflammation and resulting weight gain
The failure of the body to eliminate the source of acute inflammation, such as a virus, bacteria, fungi, or other parasite, allowing it to remain in the body for an extended amount of time.
Exposure to a low level of a chemical irritant or foreign material (e.g., silica dust). Any additives and preservatives found in processed foods also increase inflammation.
An autoimmune disorder in which part of the body is seen as a foreign antigen (as seen in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).
Reoccurring acute inflammation (such as in people who have tuberculosis).
Oxidative stress caused by free radicals, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), uric acid, etc. 1
In addition, there are several risk factors that have been associated with chronic inflammation, including:
- Increasing age
- Obesity or excess weight, especially around the waist/belly
- Diets high in trans fats, saturated fat, and refined sugar, which are associated with pro-inflammatory markers
- Intakes of high amounts of processed meats and processed foods
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Low sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen in men and women
- Stress and the elevation of cortisol levels
- Sleep disorders (e.g., irregular sleep schedules)
- Exposure to chemicals, additives, pesticides, and even pollution
- Contact with phthalates, which are found in numerous skincare and cosmetic products and may be linked to oxidative stress as well as inflammation
- Nutrient deficiencies, especially low levels of vitamins D, B6, and B12.
- Sitting too much or a sedentary lifestyle
Chronic Inflammation and Weight Gain
Researchers have found that obesity leads to low-grade chronic inflammation. 7 And the relationship appears to be linier. That is, as you gain weight, inflammation levels go up. It also goes the other way. That is, inflammation markers are highly associated with obesity. 8
Inflammation appears to affect weight in a number of ways. For instance, when threatened, the body releases cytokines, which turn on the immune response and inflammation. This can interfere with insulin response and lead to or worsen insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces enough insulin, but the cells don’t respond as they should, so blood sugar stays high.
This, consequently, can lead to type 2 diabetes and a number of other consequences. Of course, that can include additional weight gain, especially around the belly, and increased inflammation. 9 It can become a vicious cycle as higher inflammation may make it harder to lose weight.
Inflammation has also been shown to interfere with the body’s response to leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells the body when it’s had enough to eat or has enough body fat stored. And if it isn’t functioning well, you may get hunger signals when you shouldn’t, causing you to overeat. In fact, leptin-resistance is now believed to be a major driver in weight gain.
Can We Fight Inflammation to Reduce Weight?
If you are suffering from chronic inflammation, there is something you can do about it. Both dietary and lifestyle changes can help remove triggers. According to research, the most effective way to decrease chronic inflammation is to lose weight if you are currently overweight.
Fortunately, many of the methods to help reduce inflammation may also likely help you lose weight. To help manage inflammation, research recommends:
Limiting the consumption of sodas, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars. 12
Avoiding artificial sweeteners and other artificial food additives.
Reducing the intake of trans fats and refined vegetable oils
Eating more fiber, which may help lower levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha.
Consuming nuts and seeds regularly.
Watching the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. Most people take in too much omega-6 while not getting nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid foods with refined vegetable oils (as found in snack foods, crackers, cookies, and other baked goods), and consume more omega-3-rich foods like salmon, sardines, mackerel, flax and chia seeds, avocados, and walnuts.
Other Ways to Reduce Inflammation and Lose Weight
Adding green and black tea polyphenols to the diet, as the polyphenols in tea are associated with reducing CRP.Consuming curcumin, which is found in turmeric. Curcumin has been associated with improvements in several inflammatory conditions.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet that supplies the necessary micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.
Flavoring foods with turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, and other herbs and spices.
Managing stress levels.
If you are looking to indulge, try 70 to 85% dark chocolate, which provides several minerals as well as flavanols. Choose a high-quality, low-sugar option from brands like Endangered Species, Alter Eco, Ghirardelli, Taza, Pure7, or Theo.
Ensuring you’re getting good quality sleep. One study found that folks who got less than eight hours of sleep per night had a higher risk of gaining weight. 16
Burning additional energy by incorporating regular moderate exercise into your daily routines.
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. (Keep a reusable bottle of water with you to sip from all day long.)
Using Anti-Inflammatory Supplements for Weight Loss
Several drugs are used regularly to help combat chronic inflammation. These include metformin, statins, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin), and corticosteroids. 1, 17 More recently, cannabinoids are being examined for their potential role in immunoregulation. 18, 19
While no supplement can diagnose, treat, or prevent a disease, there are some supplements that have been shown in research to also support the body’s ability to fight the effects of chronic inflammation.
Some of the top anti-inflammatory supplements for weight loss include:
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): This antioxidant supplement may help protect cells from damage as well as help restore levels of key antioxidants like C and E. 20 It’s also been shown to reduce blood levels of inflammatory markers like IL-6 and ICAM-1 at 300 to 600 mg daily.
Curcumin: Found in the popular spice turmeric, curcumin provides numerous health benefits, including decreased inflammation. 21 It may be especially effective when combined with piperine from black pepper, which can increase its absorption by up to 2,000%. 22 Recommended amounts are 100 to 500 mg daily.
Fish Oil: As mentioned above, fish oil and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain have been found to decrease inflammation associated with a number of conditions. If fish isn’t your favorite food, consider supplementing with 1 to 1.5 grams of omega-3s from EPA and DHA per day. It is not, however, recommended for people on blood thinners or who take aspirin unless suggested by your doctor.
Are There Anti-inflammatory Supplements for Weight Loss?
Beyond looking at supplements that may support the body’s fight against inflammation, it’s also worth looking at those that can help one of the most prevalent causes of inflammation: weight gain and obesity.
There are key ingredients to look for in what are commonly referred to as “anti-inflammatory supplements for weight loss.” (Again, no supplement can diagnose, treat, or prevent a disease, so supplements are really about supporting the body’s natural ability to respond correctly to inflammation.)
Also Look for Weight Loss Supplements with the Following Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients
Irvingia gabonensis or African Mango (or the patented IGOB131™), which has been found to address central obesity and the associated markers of metabolic syndrome, such as high blood glucose levels, LDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein. 23 It’s been found to help support weight loss by targeting central (abdominal) obesity and reducing leptin resistance. 24
Dyglomera (or the patented DYG-400) comes from a popular spice found in the jungles of Cameroon. This powerful antioxidant has been found to help the body use sugar for energy more efficiently, so it isn’t stored as fat. Researchers have also reported that “Dyglomera®, the aqueous extract of DG, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is effective in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome in obese human subjects.” 25
The polyphenols found in Green Tea Extract have long been known as potent antioxidants. Now, researchers are finding possible additional benefits, including its ability to help decrease the response to inflammation. As such, green tea may support weight loss as well as address metabolic syndrome and obesity. 26
Melatonin Can Also Help Reduce Inflammation Indirectly
Another popular supplement is melatonin. It’s most well-known for its ability to help people get a good night’s sleep. In addition, research suggests it can help control cravings and support weight loss. Melatonin, however, is also a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation as well as reduce the destruction of inflammation in the body. 27
All three of these “anti-inflammatory supplements for weight loss” can be found in the Tetrogen® formula in the research-recommended amounts. To learn more about the full formula, read testimonials, and find the research on other key ingredients, visit TetrogenUSA.com.
Remember, inflammation isn’t a bad thing. It’s a necessary and very beneficial natural process to help our bodies heal and recover. It can, unfortunately, get out of hand, though. If inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to weight gain and a number of scary consequences.
If you think you are dealing with chronic inflammation, the first stop should be to your personal health-care practitioner. In addition, there are a number of healthy lifestyle changes you can start to incorporate into your daily routine. These include regular exercise and a nutrient-rich whole-food diet. Finally, it may be worth considering supplements to help your body address chronic inflammation.
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