Supplements May Improve the Body’s Response to Inflammation
By Dr. Karen Vieira Ph.D
Active individuals who suffer from chronic inflammation are more than likely experiencing a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which refers to tiny tears that develop in muscle tissue after performing vigorous activities (e.g., sports or working out) . The soreness that is felt is a result of inflammation of the muscle tissue around these microscopic tears. If you notice that soreness begins 1 to 3 days after you have worked out or engaged in a high intensity sport, then you may be suffering from recurring DOMS. There are a variety of supplements that can help you avoid this type of painful inflammation so that you can remain physically active, and not have to slow down.
Supplements such as potent antioxidants (e.g., vitamin C), beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, and proteins can help the body quickly recover from muscle inflammation after exercise that would normally slow down active individuals . Antioxidants boost the immune system’s response to inflammation and the production of substances (e.g., proteins, enzymes) that work to reduce inflammation . Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate is an alternate form of an amino acid called leucine, which the body needs for the proper growth of muscles as well as the repair of muscle injuries such as the microscopic tears that may occur after exercise .
Some amino acids such as glutamine promote an optimal acid/base balance in the kidney; a process that decreases the amount of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exercise. Too much lactic acid in muscle tissue causes pain that typically forces an individual to stop exercising or to take a break for several days until the pain and soreness subside . Taking amino acid supplements before working out can help prevent lactic acid build up. Protein supplements may be helpful as well because the proteins are broken down by stomach acid into essential amino acids the body can use to promote rapid muscle tissue healing . If you have been wondering why the consumption of protein supplements before and after exercise is often recommended, hopefully you now have a better understanding of how this type of supplement works.
Potent fish oil supplements, which contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, are also showing a lot of promise in regard to supporting the body’s ability to prevent the development of painful inflammation [7, 8]. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Research shows that EPA and DHA consumption enhances the amount of proteins that lead to a decrease in inflammation and also disrupts proteins that tend to worsen inflammation [9, 10]. In addition to preventing the occurrence of muscle pain after exercise, added benefits of fish oil supplements that supply the body with omega-3 fatty acids include: increased stamina, energy, and performance [7, 8]. In other words, taking a fish oil supplement may improve your body’s ability to use proteins that help limit inflammation and reduce muscle soreness, allowing you to engage in your favorite activities without interruption.
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The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for advice from a physician or a healthcare provider. You should always consult with your physician or healthcare provider before beginning or stopping any exercise or diet program or taking any supplements or medicines or if you suspect you have a health problem.