Natural Pain Killers

Natural Pain Killers

We all experience physical pain during our lives. It may result from either an acute injury, like impact on a sporting field, or perhaps a chronic degenerative condition, like arthritis. As a result, we need to find ways to relieve the pain quickly.

A breakthrough occurred when it was discovered that one of the major contributors to pain was inflammation1. The inflammation was induced by hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced in response to tissue damage in the body. Therefore, if prostaglandin production is suppressed inflammation can be reduced and pain can be decreased substantially.

One of the most commonly used types of medication to treat pain is Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin is one example. Even though NSAIDs are effective at reducing inflammation and pain in the body, they may cause a range of problematic side effects. Some of these side effects include: damage to the stomach lining, a reduction in blood flow through the kidneys (which may lead to renal failure), and decreased blood clotting ability (blood thinning).

The effects of NSAIDs result from their ability to inhibit the production of a group of enzymes known as cyclooxygenase (COX)2. There are two sub-groups of COX enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 enzymes are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the stomach lining, ensuring sufficient blood flow through the kidneys, and maintaining normal platelet function (blood clotting). COX-2 enzymes are responsible for producing inflammation in the body as well as pain and fever.

Therefore, an ideal pain-reducing product would have the effect of selectively blocking the production of COX-2 enzymes without affecting the COX-1 enzymes. This would result in inflammation and pain reduction without compromising the stomach lining, kidney function, or platelet function3.

Certain medications, like Celebrex and Vioxx (withdrawn from the market in 2004), may offer this function, but unfortunately are associated with a range of increased health risks, particularly those related to the cardiovascular system, i.e. heart attack and stroke. They can also be quite expensive.

As a result, many people are now looking for natural alternatives to their pain medications and there appears to several effective alternatives that may provide the desired pain relieving effects, i.e. inhibiting the COX-2 enzymes, without compromising the production of the COX-1 enzymes.

Natural COX-2 Inhibitors


Curcumin from turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatoryCurcumin is one of the main active ingredients in the spice turmeric, which is the deep yellow powder used in almost every curry dish. Curcumin has been the subject of thousands of research studies published throughout the world and it has been proven to offer a range of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) effects4.

Curcumin is able to effectively inhibit COX-2 enzymes as well as the genes involved in COX-2 expression.

However, since curcumin from turmeric is not particularly well absorbed into the body it is often better to take a curcumin supplement that has been prepared in such a way so as to improve the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of the curcumin.

BCN's Relieve Turmeric Forte and InflammaCALM are two patented forms of curcumin that have been proven to dramatically improve the absorption of curcumin.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish ols are an omega-3 fatty acidOmega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil, krill oil, and flax seed oil (as well as their whole-food equivalents) are powerful anti-inflammatory agents.

In fact, one study found that when compared to saturated fats and Omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids were able to dose-dependently inhibit the production of COX-2 enzymes without affecting COX-1 expression.5

Flavonoids / Polyphenols

Flavonoids / Polyphenols are compounds found in various plants. Some of which have shown to be effective as COX-2 inhibitors and therefore as anti-inflammatory agents. It appears that the most effective flavonoids / polyphenols for inhibiting COX-2 expression contain a particular chemical component within its structure. The component is called resorcin and is a dihydroxy benzene.

Green tea may inhibit COX-2 enzymesA few of the flavonoids / polyphenols that contain resorcin include, quercetin, genisten, resveratrol, and various green tea catechins. Since several green tea components are effective at inhibiting COX-2 expression, green tea has been added to InflammaCALM to further boost its effectiveness.

Overall, if you are experiencing some degree of pain and don't want to use medications, then you may want to consider the natural alternatives mentioned here.

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