Running on Empty, Fish Oil, and My Ankle
I have what I call my “base anti-inflammatory regimen”. What’s that and why should you care? What does it have to do with my ankle?
My Old Man Inflamaging
As people get old like me, many get what’s called “inflamaging”. That’s the extra inflammation many people get as they age. In practice, what does this mean? The places on my body that have been damaged through the years and we haven’t yet fully fixed get inflamed.
How can you combat this low-level inflammation that many people have? There are a number of ways, but today we’ll talk about a simple two supplement approach. Let’s dig in.Request a Regenexx Appointment
The Anti-inflammatory Supplements
The research supports that the Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil can help arthritis pain (1,2). How does that work? The Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are in fish oil, have a range of anti-inflammatory actions.
There many inflammation pathways and two are the cyclooxygenase and the arachidonic acid (AA) pathway. The NSAID drugs like Motrin work on the first, but fish oil blocks the second AA pathway. Fish oil also has chemicals called resolvins, which help to resolve inflammation. EPA and DHA also alter gene expression within cells which leads to the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals.
Curcumin is a component of the Turmeric root. It also can help arthritis pain (4-6). There are other inflammatory pathways than just the two I have described above. There’s one called LOX (lipoxygenase) and another called nitric oxide. Curcumin blocks both of these pathways.
I tore the ligaments in my left ankle many years ago. I limped around in ankle braces for years before we fixed it with orthobiologic injections. For many years my ankle was fine. However, this past 6 months, it’s clearly needed additional treatment on the ligaments, but with the stress of the pandemic and my change in my exercise routine, I haven’t had time to get it treated. In the meantime, I’ve managed it with KT Tape and have scheduled myself for a procedure in the next two weeks. However, these past few days I ran out of fish oil and my ankle quickly went from very manageable to inflamed today. I even got back my slight limp.
Sitting here writing this, my ankle is much better. Why? I got some fish oil at the office today and now that I’m back on it, within an hour to two, no more limp!
My Supplement Regimen
So what is my base anti-inflammatory regimen? I take 4 Regenexx Fish oil caps twice a day and 4 Curcumin caps twice a day (I weigh about 200 pounds). While there are other anti-inflammatory and anti-cartilage breakdown supplements I take (Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the Regenexx Stem Cell Support Formula), our focus here is on this base anti-inflammatory regimen.
The upshot? I won’t forget to get my fish oil again! It still amazes me how something as simple as forgetting to take my fish oil could have such a profound impact on my old man inflammation and those parts of my body that have been damaged through the years! So create your own base inflammation management strategy.
(1) Hill CL, March LM, Aitken D, et al. Fish oil in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised clinical trial of low dose versus high dose. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016;75(1):23-29. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-207169
(2) Suzuki Y, Fukushima M, Sakuraba K, Sawaki K, Sekigawa K. Krill Oil Improves Mild Knee Joint Pain: A Randomized Control Trial. PLoS One. 2016;11(10):e0162769. Published 2016 Oct 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162769
(3) Calder PC. n-3 PUFA and inflammation: from membrane to nucleus and from bench to bedside [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 22]. Proc Nutr Soc. 2020;1-13. doi:10.1017/S0029665120007077
(4) Heidari-Beni M, Moravejolahkami AR, Gorgian P, Askari G, Tarrahi MJ, Bahreini-Esfahani N. Herbal formulation “turmeric extract, black pepper, and ginger” versus Naproxen for chronic knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2020;34(8):2067-2073. doi:10.1002/ptr.6671
(5) Henrotin Y, Malaise M, Wittoek R, et al. Bio-optimized Curcuma longa extract is efficient on knee osteoarthritis pain: a double-blind multicenter randomized placebo controlled three-arm study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2019;21(1):179. Published 2019 Jul 27. doi:10.1186/s13075-019-1960-5
(6) Panahi Y, Rahimnia AR, Sharafi M, Alishiri G, Saburi A, Sahebkar A. Curcuminoid treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2014;28(11):1625-1631. doi:10.1002/ptr.5174