How Genes Can Influence Pain & Inflammation


Acute or short-term inflammation is a normal immune response triggered by factors such as tissue injury or pathogens. Long-term, chronic inflammation, however, is associated with pain and chronic conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Chronic inflammation may result from infections, accumulation of environmental toxins, obesity, stress, sleep disorders, excessive intake of certain dietary factors (e.g., trans fats, refined sugar) and genetics. Addressing these factors and incorporating certain dietary supplements can help manage pain and inflammation and reduce injury.

Below is some useful information about how your genes can influence risk for chronic inflammation and some top recommended supplements for pain and inflammation support, including popular products from our online dispensary.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Research suggests that higher blood ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fats may be associated with silent inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids come from animal and plant sources, whereby the body converts the plant-based forms into a usable form. Depending on your genes, you may be less efficient at this process, requiring more animal sources, such as increasing the consumption fatty fish (e.g., anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines) and/or dietary supplements to increase omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 supplements have a range of benefits including protecting against cardiovascular conditions, metabolic syndrome and improving inflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions.

Find omega-3-containing supplements on Fullscript


Curcumin is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric root (Curcuma longa), which gives the plant its bright yellow color. Curcumin supplementation has been shown to reduce pain, tenderness, and swelling related to several types of arthritis and improve wound healing. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may also have anti-depressant effects and provide protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease.

Find curcumin-containing supplements on Fullscript


Probiotics are supplements containing beneficial microbes that may improve health by modulating the microbial composition of the gut and the body’s immune system. In addition to supporting gastrointestinal health, research shows that probiotic supplementation may help regulate anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory compounds. Specific probiotic strains have been shown to reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and rheumatoid arthritis.

Find probiotic-containing supplements on Fullscript

Consider the anti-inflammatory diet

The key to a successful anti-inflammatory diet is to regulate blood glucose levels and emphasize the intake of anti-inflammatory plant-based foods and omega-3 fatty acids. Those with certain version of genes related to regulating the inflammatory response to injury (IL6, TNFa and SOD2) are more prone to chronic inflammation and tendon injuries with prolonged endurance training.  and can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet.

Questions? Contact us to book a 10-minute introductory call with our Naturopathic Doctor Dr. Murphy to identify the appropriate steps for you and your health.