Today, more than ever, people are suffering from chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Thanks to pioneering research, these inflammatory conditions can be better managed. Research shows us, two natural compounds, resveratrol and curcumin, work synergistically and, when taken together, are more formidable than when taken independently.
Tapping into the synergy
Resveratrol is a compound derived from Japanese knotweed, while curcumin comes from the spice turmeric. Both of these compounds are well known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities.
However, newer research shows that taking them together creates a synergistic effect, making them potent tools for quenching the inflammation and damage associated with autoimmune flare-ups and chronic inflammation.
A must for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders
This resveratrol curcumin combination can be beneficial for those suffering from an autoimmune disease or chronic inflammatory conditions.
Examples of some autoimmune conditions that could benefit from this combination are alopecia, ankylosing spondylitis, antiphospholipid syndrome, Behçet’s disease, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes mellitus type 1 & 1.5, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, interstitial cystitis, lupus erythematosus, mixed connective tissue disease, multiple sclerosis, pernicious anemia, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, Sjögren’s syndrome, ulcerative colitis, vitiligo, and many other named and unnamed autoimmune conditions.
Inflammatory conditions that can benefit from this duo include arthritis, brain fog, gut pain and inflammation, multiple food and chemical sensitivities, diabetes mellitus type 2, fibromyalgia, asthma, eczema, and other conditions related to inflammatory conditions.
Understanding TH-1 and TH-2 balance
In functional medicine, we work to pinpoint why the immune system is imbalanced, and work to restore that balance. Correcting this imbalance is a crucial part of managing autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
The immune system contains two key parts, TH-1 and TH-2. The pro-inflammatory side of the immune system (known as “TH-1”) responds immediately to an invader in the body. An example of this would be surrounding a splinter with pus. These cells are like a highly trained, quick reaction force.
The anti-inflammatory side of the immune system (known as “TH-2”) has a delayed response and produces antibodies to an invader. These antibodies tag the invader so that if it shows up again, the immune system can respond more quickly. Antibodies are like tracking devices. When they attach to invaders, the TH-1 cells can more efficiently track those invaders down and remove them from the body.
In a healthy person, these two systems work in balance with each other. Unfortunately, in an individual with an autoimmune disease, these two parts of the immune system have become unbalanced.
In general, as one of these becomes overly active, it causes the other to become underactive. This imbalance between TH-1 and TH-2 is what underlies autoimmune conditions. In functional medicine, we use nutritional therapies to help restore this balance. Restoring this balance quenches inflammation and autoimmune disease.
Taken in combination, resveratrol, and curcumin can play a vital role in restoring this balance.
TH-17: A key player
Many studies have identified another critical player in the immune system called TH-17. While appropriate expression of TH-17 is vital for immune defense, overactivation of TH-17 plays a crucial role in autoimmune disease and chronic inflammatory disease. When it comes to quenching flare-ups, TH-17 is an important target.
Elevations in TH-17 is where the synergy between resveratrol and curcumin are key. The synergy of resveratrol and curcumin dampens the pathways that activate TH-17, thus protecting tissue from inflammation and damage.
The higher the TH-17 levels are, the greater the destruction is to the tissues of the body. Dampening levels of TH-17 are a critical part of managing autoimmunity and chronic inflammation, and resveratrol and curcumin are the key players to do just that.
Inflammation and excess body fat
An interesting study on the anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol and curcumin also looked at obesity. Unfortunately, excess body fat creates low-level, chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation promotes the production of body fat. Inflammation driving the production of fat cells, and fat cells creating inflammation, creates a frustrating vicious cycle.
This chronic inflammation feeds autoimmune disease or chronic inflammatory disorders. For the person struggling with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid disease, not only is the inflammation promoting weight gain, so is the hypothyroidism. This study found that working together, resveratrol, and curcumin significantly reduced inflammation caused by excess fat tissue.
In addition to dampening TH-17, resveratrol and curcumin also work by supporting “regulatory T cells.” These cells regulate the activity of TH-17, TH-1, and TH-2, keeping all the aspects of the immune system in check. These cells act like the conductor of an orchestra, making sure all of the cells of the immune system are working together in perfect harmony. When they don’t work efficiently, the immune system can tip out of balance, which promotes inflammation and autoimmunity.
Other compounds that successfully support this regulation system include vitamin D3, vitamin A, fish oil, specific probiotic strains, glutathione, our master antioxidant, and nutrients that balance nitric oxide pathways.
Exciting breakthrough science
Functional medicine practitioners who understand how to use these tools correctly can help patients manage their autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders. By unwinding vicious cycles of inflammation, they help protect the body, whether it is your thyroid, your brain, or another part of the body, from the damage and degeneration caused by inflammation.
Please contact my office if you need assistance in managing your chronic inflammatory or autoimmune condition.
Be safe and stay healthy,