By Edward Bauman, M.Ed., Ph.D, N.C.
Share Guide, Nov/Dec 2008
(Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
Common prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Vioxx®, and Celebrex® may work for the short-term but are not as safe as you might think! NSAID-associated health issues are estimated to result in 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths per year.
Molly was a five foot, four inch, 120-pound runner who looked great but was feeling worse day by day. Over the previous six months, she had developed pain in her hips that was aggravated by taking long runs with her dog in the mountains. At 48, she was showing signs of wear and tear that included migraine headaches, digestive complaints, sleep disturbances, and asthma.
Molly found that taking Advil before a run enabled her to keep moving for 45–60 minutes. Afterwards, if the pain in her hips, knees, ankles, back, and neck started to surface, she took other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs). She graduated from Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®) to the prescription drug her doctor advised (Celebrex®), noticing nausea and photo-sensitivity upon use. Molly was often sick to her stomach with bouts of diarrhea. Her lower back ached and her kidneys felt tight and sore. Her doctor ordered a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) lab test and found her score was 10, which was more than two times the reference range, indicating severe inflammation.
When Molly did her annual bone density test, there was substantial deterioration when compared to only one year before. She was told she had osteoporosis and needed to go off her NSAIDs immediately. A scan of her upper GI organs showed gastric bleeding and hyper-permeability (also called leaky gut syndrome), caused or exacerbated by daily NSAIDs use. So much for doctor’s orders!
Finally becoming pro-active and health conscious, Molly looked up NSAIDs in the Physicians Desk Reference. She learned that these drugs have analgesic, antipyretic, and, in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects. They reduce pain, fever, and inflammation. The term “non-steroidal” is used to distinguish these drugs from steroids, which have a similar eicosanoiddepressing, anti-inflammatory action (among a broad range of other effects).
In 2001, NSAIDs accounted for 70,000,000 prescriptions and 30 billion over-the-counter doses sold in the U.S. (Green, 2001). NSAID-associated upper gastrointestinal adverse events are estimated to result in 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths per year in this country alone, representing 43% of drug-related emergency visits. Many of these events are avoidable. A review of physician visits and prescriptions given estimated that unnecessary prescriptions for NSAIDs were written in 42% of cases (Green, 2001).
Molly was most disturbed to find out that NSAIDs are never to be used in individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Celiac, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, due to their tendency to cause gastric bleeding and ulcerations in the gastric lining.
Molly eventually came to me seeking advice on natural ways to heal her gut, cleanse her liver, address her osteoporosis, and cool her inflammation. I introduced her to the Eating for Health system, based on appropriate amounts of local, seasonal, and organic whole foods, including high-nutrient “boosters.” She was amazed to find out that many of the foods she had been eating were pro-inflammatory, including red meat, processed cheese, coffee, pastries, refined sugar, and sugar substitutes. I gave Molly a list of anti-inflammatory foods, which eaten together would be more powerful than any single herb or dietary supplement.
She decided to embark on a 21-day supervised Jump Start Cleansing Program built around foods, herbs, and dietary supplements to restore her proper pH mineral balance and repair and rebuild her thinning joints and bones. I suggested a morning and mid-afternoon Vital Scoop™ smoothie containing whey, flax, micro greens, fruit extracts, coconut water, with fresh berries, cherries, or pomegranate, which she loved.
She increased her fresh vegetable intake to 6 servings a day, her fruits to 3 servings a day, and began eating wild, cold-water fish, brown rice, local, seasonal veggies, and a fresh-brewed tea of mint, rosemary, hops, and lemon verbena.
Within three weeks a seeming miracle happened. Molly’s pain vanished! The vitamins, minerals, and phyto nutrients necessary to bring her body back into balance had quenched her pain and cooled her inflammation. Her CRP level normalized. Now, Molly is back in stride — swimming more and running less, to ease the stress and strain on her joints, tissues, nerves, and muscles.
Top Nutritional Supplements to Cool Inflammation
NOTE: It’s best to work with a certified nutrition consultant to select the combination, dose and duration of supplementation.
|Magnesium||200mg. every 2 hours if in pain|
|Calcium||200mg. every 2 hours if in pain|
|Zinc||20mg. 3 times per day|
|Selenium||200mcg. 3 times per day for immune support|
|Vitamin D||2000 IU 2 times per day|
|Vitamin C||3–6 grams per day (buffered with bioflavonoids)|
|EFAs (high-quality fish oil)||up to 4 grams (4 Tbsp.) daily|
|Grape Seed Extract||300–500mg. daily to heal damaged cells and cell membranes|
|Soluble fiber||2 Tbsp. 2 times per day (flax seed or oat bran)|
|Vitamin B Complex||Good for pain and fatigue, balances energy/mood associated with pain|
|Bromelain||1500mg. before bed and upon rising|
|Melatonin||1–5mg. before bedtime for night-time pain, to support sleep|
|DL-phenylalanine||1000mg. 1-3 times per day, supports endorphins that lift pain/depression|
Foods to Eat Daily to Cool Inflammation
|Cold-water Fatty Fish||Omega-3 fatty acids|
|Flax, Hemp, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, and Almonds||Protein, good fats, minerals|
|Cruciferous Vegetables such as broccoli,|
cabbage, and brussel sprouts
|Dark Leafy Greens||B vitamins and magnesium|
|Colorful Fresh Fruits and Veggies||Vitamin C and bioflavonoids|
|Turmeric, Ginger, Clove, and Nutmeg||Improving circulation, easing pain and swelling|
|Rosemary, Basil, Hops, and Boswelia||Cooling, nerve tonics|
Foods to Avoid that Contribute to Inflammation
|Fatty red meat||High saturated fat content|
|Commercial organ meats, and dairy products||Contain fat-soluble antibiotics, pesticides, hormones|
|Charbroiled meats such as hamburgers||High cooking temperatures create denatured proteins|
|Cold cuts, bacon, jerky, and processed cheese||Contain nitrates, preservatives, additives, colorings|
|Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil||Damages cell membranes|
|Refined and artificial sugar||Neuro-toxic, acid forming|
|Artificial colors, flavors||Stimulate immune reaction|
Lifestyle Factors to Help with Inflammation
- Keep a food/mood diary
- Do regular non-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, yoga, pilates.
- Take time out for relaxation, such as reading, baths, and gardening.
- Face and resolve stressors in your life.
- Calm your mind and send love and healing to inflamed body tissues.
Dr. Edward Bauman has been a ground-breaking leader in the fields of whole foods nutrition and holistic health for over 30 years. He is the Director of Bauman Nutrition, a natural health clinic in Sonoma County that provides nutritional consultation to individuals, families and business groups. He is also founder of Bauman College Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. Read more about Dr. Ed Bauman.