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Inflammation

Inflammation is an alarm signal of sorts that is triggered by invading pathogens or injury. It mobilizes the immune system to neutralize and kill the infection or promote tissue repair and healing. Although controlled inflammation is critical for surviving in a stressful world, when it is excessive or prolonged it can lead to health problems, and is a common driver of many chronic diseases.

Our evidence-based analysis on inflammation features 3 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
Last Updated:

Summary of Inflammation

Inflammation is the response of immune cells to tissue damage, pathogens, and other intrusions, with the purpose of healing and restoring cells. Acute inflammation entails a number of adaptations that take place to protect and repair the body. Immune cells are recruited to the site to combat any pathogens they encounter, while some cells secrete proteins that help to clear dead cells and damaged extracellular matrix, and facilitate healing. Pain, heat, and increased blood flow are also common features.

That’s the healthy, adaptive part of inflammation.Then there’s chronic inflammation, which is a persistent elevation of inflammation that affects many parts of the body continuously. It may be caused by a persist injury or an inability to clear an infection, but it’s also oftentimes caused by excess adipose tissue, metabolic stress and dysregulation, a compromised microbiome and gut barrier, persistent exposure to toxicants, and autoimmunity, where the immune system attacks the body directly. A lack of the nutrients, cells, and friendly microbiota that are involved in immune regulation will make it all the worse, and lead to greater inflammatory activity for longer.

The inflammatory response, much like a war, is costly and leads to collateral damage. Inflammatory signaling molecules, the chemical weapons of immune cells, and the cellular breakdown, can damage and dysregulate our own cells and contribute to a wide variety of common diseases and disorders.

This page is for inflammation in general, and will include study outcomes of a variety of markers of inflammation, but will largely be made up of c-reactive protein, and various cytokines, as these are the most common inflammatory markers that are tested for. For information on a specific inflammatory marker, it’s best to search for it by name, and not to rely on this page.

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Human Effect Matrix

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The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies to tell you what supplements affect Inflammation.

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Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Supplement Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Minor Moderate See all 17 studies
Highly mixed and unreliable influences on circulating inflammatory cytokines (although, due to immunosuppression on cellular adhesion factors, the overall effect may still be antiinflammatory)
grade-b Notable Very High See all 6 studies
There appears to be a decrease in disease states or conditions characterized by inflammation associated with curcumin ingestion, does not appear to be too discriminatory in which inflammatory states it benefits
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
Inflammatory parameters seem to be reduced following ginger consumption

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Click here to see all 3 references.