- Mike Zagelow
Every day I have conversations at the pharmacy around chronic inflammation when people visit the pharmacy to pick up non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, steroids like prednisone, opioids and other pain relievers, braces wraps and creams.
Through my involvement with Hometown, I’ve learned a lot about inflammation. To me, solving inflammation can seem like trying to patch a roof with 20 holes in it…you can’t patch all the holes but if you can get the big ones you can still stay pretty dry.
My personal journey with inflammation involved 15 years of taking Naproxen and multiple steroid injections. I’ve made three primary changes that have made a big difference in my quality of life and have helped me eliminate the need for cortisone shots and anti-inflammatory medications.
I take a high quality turmeric product. I started with turmeric alone and saw some benefit. Eventually I moved on to OrthoMolecular’s Traumeric which, along with turmeric, also contains the natural enzyme Bromelain and the potent flavonoid antioxidant Quercetin. I also try to eat berries and other colored fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids.
2. Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio
I work to increase my ratio of anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s to pro-inflammatory Omega 6’s. I take a triglyceride based Fish Oil called Orthomega. Fish Oil with a Triglyceride backbone is significantly more bioavailable than the cheaper and easier to make ethyl ester fish oils. In other words, your body can better absorb and utilize it, giving you more ‘bang for your buck’ when taking it in the triglyceride form. I also try to eat avocado, Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines and Herring (S.M.A.S.H fish) several times per week which are high in Omega 3’s and work to avoid processed foods or foods with vegetable oil that are high in Omega 6’s. Finally, every 6 months, I test my blood for Omega 3/6 ratio as well as trans fats to see how I’m doing. I use an Omega Quant finger stick blood test that we carry at the pharmacy.
3. Elimination Diet
On the advice of a proactive health pharmacist, I did an elimination diet to determine what food might be triggering inflammation for me. An elimination diet is as simple as it sounds…you remove something from your diet for a period of time and then gradually add it back and see how you feel. For some people, inflammatory triggers may be sugar, dairy, beans and legumes or alcohol. But for me, it was gluten. When I reduced the gluten in my diet, it further reduced my joint pain and inflammation. I simply try to buy gluten free options when I can find them and I try to replace the breads in my diet with lettuce and vegetables. I don’t worry about trying to be perfect at it, but I try to keep vegetable steamers and other plant based foods available, and I avoid gluten wherever I can.
There are many other diet and nutraceutical options that may help, including CBD, but these are the three areas that gave me the most success.
Along with helping with muscle and joint pain, like in my situation, reducing inflammation can help protect against the progression of many common diseases. Heart disease, stroke, dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), depression, diabetes and cancer all have inflammatory components. Autoimmune diseases like IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS and psoriasis as well as allergies, eczema and asthma can all have the potential to be improved or at least slowed down by reducing inflammation. Talk to your Hometown Pharmacist to learn more!
The views expressed in this article/blog post reflect those of the author and are intended for educational purposes only. This information should not take the place of medical advice. Hometown Pharmacy Partnerships (HPP) and any organization with a business relationship with HPP are not responsible for the outcome of any decision made based on the information presented in this article/blog post. Please check with your health care provider(s) prior to starting any new dietary, movement and/or wellness strategies.
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Hello, I'm Mike Zagelow. I attended Washington State, raised 5 kids with my wife Laura. I enjoy doing things with Laura and our family, traveling when we can, golf and basketball.
Learning proactive ways to stay healthy and becoming part of the community are my favorite things about Hometown. Learn more about my pharmacy here: Fort Atkinson Hometown Pharmacy