Best Natural Antioxidant Supplements for Inflammation 2023

Inflammation is the body’s response to harmful stimulus such as injury, infection, or irritation. There are two main types of inflammation ; acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation usually restores your body to its state before injury or illness. It often resolves in two weeks or less. Symptoms appear quickly. 

Chronic inflammation slower and generally less severe form. It typically lasts longer than six weeks. It can occur even when there’s no injury, and it doesn’t always end when the illness or injury is healed. Chronic inflammation has been linked to autoimmune disorders and even prolonged stress.



What are the 5 classic signs of inflammation?

- Redness
- Heat
- Swelling
- Pain
- Loss of function: Not able to move the injured part easily


How can I get rid of inflammation naturally?

- Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation. Many of them are found in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables and olive oil, among other staples.

There’s a standardized research tool that’s updated regularly that allows anybody to see if they’re eating foods we know cause chronic inflammation. This is called the The Dietary Inflammatory Index or DII. The choices of pro-inflammatory foods were initially based on studies showing that certain foods like trans-fatty acids (unsaturated fats) caused a spike in serum inflammatory markers in people.

- Autoimmune Protocol Diet

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a diet that aims to reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms caused by autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (pubmed).

Many people who have followed the AIP diet report improvements in the way they feel, as well as reductions in common symptoms of autoimmune disorders, such as fatigue and gut or joint pain. Yet, while research on this diet is promising, it’s also limited.

The AIP diet is an elimination diet designed to help reduce inflammation or other symptoms caused by autoimmune disorders.

It’s comprised of two phases designed to help you identify and ultimately avoid the foods that may trigger inflammation and disease-specific symptoms. Research on its efficacy is limited but appears promising.

Due to its limited downsides, people with autoimmune disorders generally have little to lose by giving it a try. However, it’s likely best to seek guidance from a qualified health professional to ensure you continue to meet your nutrient needs throughout all phases of this diet.

- Choose My Plate

The Food Pyramid many of us grew up with has been replaced with a colorful plate that emphasizes proper proportions. One important message: Fill half your plate with vegetables. Learn more at www.choosemyplate.gov

- Exercise
- Manage stress. Chronic stress contributes to inflammation. Meditation, yoga, or guided imagery may help manage stress throughout the day.


Can Antioxidants Reduce Inflammation?

Yes, antioxidants can reduce inflammation. They protect the tissues from damage by oxidation and free radicals which may have caused inflammation.


What Is The Best Antioxidant For Inflammation?

Vitamin C could be the best antioxidant for inflammation. This powerful antioxidant reduces inflammation by neutralizing the free radicals that damage your cells.


Best Natural Antioxidant Supplements for Inflammation

If you feel that your diet does not provide sufficient amounts of antioxidants, supplements can help to fill the gap. In order to help you with your research, let's examine some of the popular natural antioxidant supplements in 2022.

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble essential vitamin. This means that it must be taken in through food or supplements on a daily basis because it cannot be stored in the body.

Vitamin C is able to act as both an antioxidant and pro-oxidant, depending on what the body needs. This allows it to serve a variety of functions in the body. Like other antioxidants, it works by targeting free radicals in the body. 

Vitamin C is found in high amounts in fruit and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits like oranges and dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli.

Vitamin C, through its antioxidant potential, has been shown to improve blood flow relative to placebo in healthy people (Source).

Studies have also shown that vitamin C supplementation can reduce the effect of free radicals produced from exercise (Source).

Due to its antioxidant activity, studies have demonstrated that vitamin C can upregulate antioxidant enzymes in the body, reducing oxidative stress and improves insulin sensitivity (Source).

It has also been shown to be effective in preventing bone loss associated with oxidative stress in the elderly (Source).

Related: Best Vitamin C Supplement

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E refers to eight molecules, which are divided into two categories: tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each of these categories is further divided into alpha (α), beta (β), gamma (γ), and delta (δ) vitamers.

Vitamine α-tocopherol is considered to be the main one and is found within most vitamin E supplements.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it is stored in the body.

Vitamin E was the first antioxidant compound to be sold as a dietary supplement, which was followed by vitamin C. It is sometimes used as the reference antioxidant compound when fat-soluble compounds are being researched and can act as a signalling molecule within cells and for phosphate groups.

Vitamin E is found in high amounts in foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

Similarly to vitamin C, vitamin E has also been shown to improve blood flow. Vitamin E supplementation as alpha-tocopherol at 1,000 IU for three months was found to increase the vitamin E content of LDL particles and reduce their oxidation susceptibility as well as improve blood flow (Source).

Studies have also shown that supplementation of vitamin E can reduce blood pressure, but only when taken in doses of 160mg or 320mg as 80mg failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect (Source). In addition, only the highest dose in this study (320mg) demonstrated an improvement in the antioxidant capacity of the blood. Effects on blood pressure, therefore, seem to be dose-dependent.

Vitamin E supplementation has also been found to lower oxidative stress but only when the supplement is taken over a longer period of time and a high dose is taken (Source). This study showed that a dose of between 1,600 and 3,200IU daily for 16 weeks was effective in reducing oxidative stress.

3. Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a red pigment molecule belonging to the carotenoid family. It is produced in marine algae when the algae become stressed.

When eaten by crustaceans and other sea life, it tends to lend a reddish hue to the shells, or the flesh of salmon. Marine birds like flamingos also get their color from eating microalgae full of astaxanthin.
In the body it works as an antioxidant, helping to protect against reactive oxygen species and oxidation, which plays a role in aging, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease (R). Studies have also shown astaxanthin works from the inside out to protect your skin from free radical damage.

One standout feature of astaxanthin is that it is 550 times stronger than vitamin E and 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C. In addition, it is 10 times more effective than zeaxanthin, lutein, canthaxanthin and beta-carotene (R).

In part, this additional protection may be related to the molecular structure that enables it to reside inside and outside the cell membrane (R).

From an antiaging standpoint, researchers (R) have found 6 mg of astaxanthin taken over six to eight weeks may reduce the appearance of crow's feet and age spots while enhancing elasticity and skin texture.

4. Molecular Hydrogen (H2) 

Yes, we are referring to H2, the smallest molecule on planet Earth. A relatively new comer in the wellness space, molecular hydrogen is gaining popularity.

The publication of a landmark study in 2007, reported in a reputable journal (Nature Medicine) by a team in Japan, discovered that inhaled hydrogen gas could act as an antioxidant and protect the brain from free radicals. This sparked the interest in its potential health benefits worldwide and led to many published and on-going clinical research.

Following the landmark publication in Nature Medicine in 2007, many other studies regarding the potential application of hydrogen therapy on various conditions were subsequently published.

Since the Japanese discovery, the effects of hydrogen have been researched in 63 diseases [R]!

It’s less known that hydrogen was therapeutically used for the first time in humans in the early 90s. It was given to 3 divers to successfully help them overcome the effects of high pressure on the brain in deep-sea diving [SourceSource].

Hydrogen is the smallest existent gas molecule. Because of this unique property, molecular hydrogen could penetrate into virtually every organ and cell in the body (including the brain) where it may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, weight-loss, and anti-allergy activity. Molecular hydrogen seems like the perfect therapeutic the world has been eagerly searching for – with very few known side effects and such wide-ranging action [Source, Source].

Hydrogen water is loaded with hydrogen molecules. It was formulated as the most practical and easy way to get hydrogen into the whole body. But it’s not the only way – hydrogen can also be inhaled, injected, or absorbed through a bath [Source].

The ability of molecular hydrogen (H2) to protect the DNA and the mitochondria from oxidative damage may have beneficial effects on chronic diseases and cancer. But perhaps it could help slow down or reverse the aging process itself. A couple of cellular studies give us some interesting clues [Ref, R].

It was already discovered that hydrogen can prolong the life of stem cells by reducing oxidative stress [Ref].

A hydrogen-rich environment reduced both oxidative stress and aging in cells. Some scientists think
that drinking hydrogen water could increase longevity in humans (Circ J. 2016).

Related: Hydrogen Water As An Antioxidant - A 2022 Research Update

5. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is the beneficial compound found in red wine, which is produced on grapes as a defense against toxins and is found within the skins of grapes. It is also in berries and peanuts. Resveratrol shares many benefits with bioflavonoids, a group of plant-derived compounds with antioxidant properties.

In addition to being an antioxidant, resveratrol is also an anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, cardioprotective, vasorelaxant, phytoestrogenic and neuroprotective agent (Source).

As with other antioxidant supplements, resveratrol reduces oxidative stress. Taking 10mg of resveratrol daily (in two doses) for four weeks was shown to reduce markers of oxidative stress, as well as improve insulin sensitivity (Source).

6. Curcumin (Turmeric)

Curcumin — the main active compound in turmeric — has been shown to possess powerful anti-aging properties, which are attributed to its potent antioxidant potential.

Cellular senescence occurs when cells stop dividing. As you age, senescent cells accumulate, which is believed to accelerate aging and disease progression (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Research demonstrates that curcumin activates certain proteins, including sirtuins and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps delay cellular senescence and promotes longevity (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Plus, curcumin has been shown to combat cellular damage and significantly increase the lifespan of fruit flies, roundworms, and mice. This compound has been shown to postpone age-related disease and alleviate age-related symptoms as well (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

This may be why turmeric intake has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related mental decline in humans (Trusted Source).

You can increase your curcumin intake by using turmeric in recipes or taking curcumin supplements.

7. CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that your body produces. It plays essential roles in energy production and protects against cellular damage (Trusted Source).

Research suggests that levels of CoQ10 decline as you age, and supplementing with it has been shown to improve certain aspects of health in older individuals.

For example, a study in 443 older adults demonstrated that supplementing with CoQ10 and selenium over 4 years improved their overall quality of life, reduced hospital visits, and slowed the deterioration of physical and mental performance (Trusted Source).

CoQ10 supplements help reduce oxidative stress, a condition characterized by an accumulation of free radicals and other reactive molecules that accelerates the aging process and onset of age-related disease (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Though CoQ10 shows promise as an anti-aging supplement, more evidence is needed before it can be recommended as a natural way to delay aging.

Be sure to consult a trusted healthcare professional before giving it a try.

8. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) and Glutathione

Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid. It’s considered semi-essential because your body can produce it from other amino acids, namely methionine and serine. It becomes essential only when the dietary intake of methionine and serine is low.

Cysteine is found in most high-protein foods, such as chicken, turkey, yogurt, cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds and legumes.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a supplement form of cysteine.

Consuming adequate cysteine and NAC is important for a variety of health reasons — including replenishing the most powerful antioxidant in your body, glutathione. These amino acids also help with chronic respiratory conditions, fertility and brain health.

NAC is valued primarily for its role in antioxidant production. Along with two other amino acids — glutamine and glycine — NAC is needed to make and replenish glutathione.

Glutathione is one of the body’s most important antioxidants, which helps neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in your body.

It’s essential for immune health and fighting cellular damage. Some researchers believe it may even contribute to longevity (Trusted Source).

Its antioxidant properties are also important for combatting numerous other ailments caused by oxidative stress, such as heart disease, infertility and some psychiatric conditions (Trusted Source).

In a controlled clinical trial in 262 individuals at high risk of influenza (flu) and flu-like illness, NAC supplementation at a dosage of 600 mg twice daily for six months resulted in a significant decrease in frequency and severity of flu and flu symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle and joint pain. NAC’s ability to protect against flu symptoms was especially evident during the winter season. Of those who tested positive for influenza virus infection during the study, only 25% in the NAC group developed symptomatic illness compared with 79% in the placebo group (De Flora 1997). 

This same NAC dosage in dialysis patients, over eight weeks, resulted in marked reductions in levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and IL-6 (Purwanto 2012).

NAC is likely safe for adults when provided as a prescription medication. However, high amounts may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation (Trusted Source).

When inhaled, it can cause swelling in the mouth, runny nose, drowsiness and chest tightness.

People with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinning medications should not take NAC, as it may slow blood clotting (Trusted Source).

NAC has an unpleasant smell that makes it hard to consume. If you choose to take it, consult with your doctor first.

9. Crocin (Saffron)

Crocin is a yellow carotenoid pigment in saffron, a popular, pricey spice that’s commonly used in Indian and Spanish cuisine.

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world — with 1 pound (450 grams) costing between 500 and 5,000 U.S. dollars. Saffron contains an impressive variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants — molecules that protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress.

Human and animal studies have shown that crocin offers many health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antidiabetic effects (Trusted Source).

Aside from the properties listed above, crocin has been researched for its potential to act as an anti-aging compound and protect against age-related mental decline (Trusted Source).

Test-tube and rodent studies have demonstrated that crocin helps prevent age-related nerve damage by inhibiting the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are compounds that contribute to the aging process (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Crocin has also been shown to help prevent aging in human skin cells by reducing inflammation and protecting against UV-light-induced cellular damage (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Given that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, a more cost-effective way to boost your crocin intake is by taking a concentrated saffron supplement.

10. Carotenoids (Vitamin A, Lutein and Zeaxanthin)

Vitamin A is the generic term for a group of fat-soluble compounds highly important for human health.

They’re essential for many processes in your body, including maintaining healthy vision, ensuring the normal function of your immune system and organs and aiding the proper growth and development of babies in the womb.

Vitamin A compounds are found in both animal and plant foods and come in two different major categories: preformed vitamin A (retinoids) and provitamin A (carotenoids).

Preformed vitamin A is known as the active form of the vitamin, which your body can use just as it is. It’s found in animal products including meat, chicken, fish and dairy and includes the compounds retinol, retinal and retinoic acid.

Provitamin A (carotenoids) — alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin — are the inactive form of the vitamin found in plants. Other carotenoids in food, such as lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are not converted into vitamin A and are referred to as non-provitamin A carotenoids; they might have other important activities not involving vitamin A formation [R].

These compounds are converted to the active form in your body. For example, beta-carotene is converted to retinol (an active form of vitamin A) in your small intestine (Trusted Source).

Although the biological effects of retinoids are numerous, among the most important effect is that retinoids may exert some of their actions by virtue of their acting as lipid-soluble antioxidants.

Retinol (a type of retinoids) is a lipid-soluble antioxidant that may help fight the damaging effects of free radicals on your cells (Methods in Enzymology 1990).

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Though its exact cause is unknown, it’s thought to be the result of cellular damage to the retina, attributable to oxidative stress (Trusted Source).

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that giving people over the age of 50 with some eyesight degeneration an antioxidant supplement (including beta-carotene) reduced their risk of developing advanced macular degeneration by 25% (Trusted Source).

However, a recent Cochrane review found that beta-carotene supplements alone won’t prevent or delay the decline in eyesight caused by AMD (Trusted Source).

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two important carotenoids, which are pigments produced by plants that give fruits and vegetables a yellow to reddish hue.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that defend your body against unstable molecules called free radicals.

In excess, free radicals can damage your cells, contribute to aging and lead to the progression of diseases like heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease (R).

Lutein and zeaxanthin protect your body’s proteins, fats and DNA from stressors and can even help recycle glutathione, another key antioxidant in your body (Trusted Source).


Online Shopping Guide

Before adding a new supplement to your routine, discuss its use with your healthcare provider, especially if you have an underlying health condition or are taking medication.

While many of the anti-oxidant supplements may be available in your local stores, it may be more convenient or affordable to shop for them online on Amazon (US):

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