Pain is something we all face at one point or another in our lives; whether it is a simple headache or chronic pain caused by arthritis. It is the single most unbearable symptom of any disease and we are constantly looking ways to banish it. However, we do not need to immediately resort to medication for calming pain. There are nutrients available to us that have been shown to have pain-relieving effects. The following are three of the best nutrients for pain relief.
Flavonoids are a large family of food-derived compounds that are responsible for the colors of flowers and fruits as well as their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. There are many specific classes of flavonoids, including flavonols, flavones, flavanols, procyanidins, and anthocyanin pigments.
Flavonoids have the ability to lower inflammation within the body by blocking the production of messaging molecules that promote inflammation. By lowering inflammation they have been shown to be effective at lessening chronic joint and muscle pain. Foods that contain a wide array of flavonoids:
The white layer of citrus peels contain large amounts of bioflavonoids, such as flavanones and hesperidin
Elderberry contain important anthocyanidin flavonoids which supports healthy cardiovascular function
Grapeseeds contain proanthocyanidin flavonoids which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They also promote cardiovascular health by protecting the health of arteries
Green tea extract contain flavonoids and is a great antioxidant. It was shown to increase the activity of the immune system.
Quercetin is a particularly potent flavonoid that recognised for its antioxidant, pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory compound and has shown to be particularly effective at treating neuropathic pain. It is found in apples, onions, grapes, and black tea.
In addition to their pain-relieving effects, flavonoids support the health of the cardiovascular and the function of the nervous system. They also protect cells from free radical aggression, they support detoxification and have been associated with decreased risk of certain types of cancers, including breast and lung cancer.
Curcumin is one of the active components of turmeric and is responsible for giving the spice its deep-yellow color. Numerous clinical trials have found curcumin to be a notable analgesic and anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Curcurmin pain-relieving qualities are triggered by inhibiting the activity and expression of COX-2 in several different gastrointestinal cell lines: esophagus, colon, and small intestine. COX-2 are enzymes that produce prostaglandins, which in turn are a group of compounds responsible for inflammation. To put things into perspective, non-steroid anti-inflammatories relieve pain by inhibiting the activity of COX-2.
Curcurmin shows great potential for modulating chronic inflammation and pain in gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and stomach pain.
Applying turmeric to the skin has been shown to relieve pain from sprains and swellings, bruising, bug bites, and even acne. It has also shown potential to alleviate inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.
Curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects can also help reduce irritation, pain, redness, swelling and heat, symptoms which plague osteoarthritis patients.
Resveratrol is a phytochemical derived from grape skin that has extremely potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Its anti-inflammatory effects were first described in 1997 and since then, numerous studies have investigated the mechanism behind the wonders.
Resveratrol has been shown to modify gene expression and prevent the synthesis of COX-2 as well as directly inhibiting COX-2 activity, which reduces the inflammation process. Because of that, it has the ability to decrease chronic pain, menstrual pain, bone pain, and arthritic pain. It has also shown potential to enhance the healing process and boost tissue repair.
Resveratrol can be found in various types of foods, however, it is most commonly found in grapes and wine. Red wine contains between 0.2-5.8 milligrams of resveratrol per liter. This depends on the type of grape used. Notably, white wine typically contains much less resveratrol than red wine. Other notable sources of resveratrol include peanuts, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, bilberries, blueberries, and mulberries. We often use resveratrol in our clinic as part of our anti-inflammatory and detox protocols.