Part of an ongoing series on how to use supplement and behavior-based plans to treat common maladies. To read the detailed plan, order supplements, or download the patient resource sheets, go here to create a free patient account at Fullscript by entering your name and email address: Dr. Mark McDonald’s Fullscript dispensary

Nearly every chronic disease—cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, eczema, ulcerative colitis, Alzheimers—is caused or mediated by inflammation.

In managing chronic chronic disease, medicine has for decades focused almost entirely on controlling markers such as cholesterol or blood sugar through expensive medications. If you lower your cholesterol with a statin or keep your blood sugar in check with metformin, you will reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack or developing diabetes—at least, that has been the belief.

That belief has proven to be wrong.

Doctors have been led astray by the overwhelming influence of large pharmaceutical corporations that have pushed for the management of the wrong markers, using the wrong drugs. Not only do many of these medications offer minimal to no benefit in reducing disease, injury, or death, their side effects can actually create new injuries or disease processes that must then be treated on top of the existing illness. Lowering cholesterol levels does not prevent atherosclerosis, and blood sugar levels cannot be safely managed with drugs. We all know what happened to people who switched from regular to diet sodas—they got fatter, they became insulin resistant, and they developed cancer. Splenda made them more sick than did sugar.

As I explained in previous Substack articles, the first and best approach to reducing inflammatory processes in the body is by improving sleep, diet, and exercise.

Ideally, quality food, excellent sleep, and regular movement would be sufficient to keep inflammation in check. Few people, though, are able to practice this consistently. This is where supplementation can be helpful. Curcumin, for example, has been shown to be as effective in reducing acute inflammation as ibuprofen, and without the risk of kidney damage. Gut inflammation is often caused by absent or the wrong mixture of bacteria in the GI tract, something that can be remedied with probiotic use. And unlike Lipitor, a drug that lowers cholesterol levels but does essentially nothing to protect patients from strokes or heart attacks, high-quality fish oils have proven to be cardio-protective by elevating levels of DHA and EPA in the blood. These supplements, when taken regularly, can provide a powerful whole-body anti-inflammatory effect that reduces the risk of developing chronic disease.

Natural pathways to reducing inflammation are safer and more effective than prescription drugs.

There are many foods that can be used to address inflammatory pathways, such as honey, blueberries, and garlic. With the proper attention and discipline, you can eat your way to a low-inflammation body. Supplements, though, may provide a needed boost, given our tendency to fall short in achieving our dietary goals.

Below is a link to my inflammation plan I provide my patients. I am now sharing it with my Substack subscribers. To access the plan, you must first create a free patient account at Fullscript by entering your name and email address: Dr. Mark McDonald’s Fullscript dispensary