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Natural TNF Alpha Inhibitors

What would you want to inhibit TNF (TNF-alpha or Tumor Necrosis Factor)? Simple – it is the Root of All Evi! Think I’m exagerrating? As I covered in my link on Erectile Dysfunction and Inflammation, TNF-alpha is a major contributor to erectile dysfuntion, heart disease, autoimmune disease and cancer. That’s why controlling TNF should be one of your major priorities as a male and this page is one of the most important on my site.

So what is TNF?  TNF is just one of the body’s “inflammatory cytokines” used to handle infections and inflammation.  Like estrogen, a little is essential and good.  However, also like estrogen, most guys don’t have trouble with too little, they have trouble with too much. Our modern lifestyle raises TNF to unhealthy levels and, eventually, these increased levels kill us.  It’s easy to make the case that too much TNF-alpha is the biggest killer of males in modern societies.

TNF is so potent that they now have anti-TNF drugs used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.  Of course, drastic disease sometimes require drastic action, but consider this:  below I document many natural ways to lower this potentially toxic cytokine.  Of course, the answer is ‘yes’ and below you’ll see many of the same players known for

1. Fish Oil.  It’s no secret that omega-3’s are one of your most potent inflammation fighters and studies have shown this to be true in the case of tnf as well. In one study of healthy volunteers, tnf-alpha synthesis was dramatically reduced by 74% as fish oil dosage was increased to about 9 grams per day.  [1]  NOTE:  This is a hefty dose and higher than what is normally recommended for typical fish oil supplementation. Going with a smaller dosage should result in significant reductions according to this study.

2. Exercise.  Moderate exercise can powerfully lower exercise and decrease baseline levels of TNF alpha and IL-6, your body’s two most powerful inflammatory chemicals. See this page for information: Exercise and Inflammation for more information.

3. CoQ10.  A number of studies have shown that this antioxidant molecule reduces tnf levels. [2] This is yet another example as to the Danger of Statins.

Â4. Mediterranean Diet. One study the degree of adherence to a Mediterranean Diet was inversely related to TNF-alpha levels. [3] In other words, the more the Mediterranean Diet, the less the tnf. For more information about how to improve mortality, heart disease and erectile strength, read this link on The Power of the Mediterranean Diet.

5. Turmeric / Curcumin.  Many studies have shown that this spice, present in yellow mustard and curry, inhibits TNF production. [4]

6. Green Tea / EGCG.  EGCG is one of the most potent of all plant phytochemicals and has a host of miraculous properties. Multiple studies show that EGCG limits TNF-alpha production. [5]

7. Vitamin E / Alpha Tocopherol. This vitamin not only limits TNF release in arteries but also prevents oxidation of LDL and many other processes that lead to arteriosclerosis. [6] Although scientists have studies alpha tocopherol, it is probably prudent to only take mixed tocopherol Vitamin E because the alpha form can lower levels of the others (gamma, etc.).

8.  Ashwagandha.  This traditional ayurvedic herb has been shown to reduce TNF-alpha output. [7] It has many other uses, including a Natural Sleep Aid (see no. 18) as well.

9. Magnesium.  There is strong evidence that low magnesium levels can negatively affect TNF levels. [8] Of course, one can easily get enough magnesium from a well-rounded, plant-based diet, but still many in modern societies do not. [8] See my link on The Boron and Testosterone for more information.

10. Tart Cherry Juice. This cherry juice is, well, tart, but is well worth the effort as it tightly clamps down on rising TNF alpha levels.  It is so powerful at controlling inflammation that is can reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and is used by many athletes already.  See my link on Inflammation and Juicing for more information.

11. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR).  One of the most powerful ways to control TNF alpha levels is actually not a food, juice or supplement but rather a time-proven relaxation technique. PMR was developed originally as psychological tool but has since proven itself to help with many health-related issues. I discuss these at length in my link The Many Health Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Men.

NOTE:  TNF alpha is not the only cytokine that needs to be controlled.  For other natural ways to lower inflammation, see my link on Inflammation.  In addition, many foods and a number of supplements favorably alter the upstream TNF inflammatory signaling.. Alpha lipoic acid and an extract of Korean Ginseng are examples of this. [10][11] [12] It should be noted, though, that other extract of Ginseng have actually stimulated TNF-alpha itself. [13]  Quercetin, the miracle phytochemical in apples and onions, is also in this category.

CAUTION:  The only potentially negative affect of cocoa that I know is that it does seem to stimulate TNF-alpha. [9]  The same thing has been found in certain Korean Ginseng extracts as well. [12]


1)  Am J Clin Nutr, Jan 1996, 63:116-122, “The effect on human tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1 beta production of diets enriched in n-3 fatty acids from vegetable oil or fish oil”

2) BioFactors, 2008, 32(1-4):179-183, “Functions of coenzyme Q_{10} in inflammation and gene expression”

3) Eur J Nutr, 2005, 44:348–354, “A Mediterranean dietary style influences TNF-alpha and VCAM-1 coronary blood levels in unstable angina patients”

4) Phytomedicine, 2005 Jun, 12(6-7):445-52, “The effect of turmeric extracts on inflammatory mediator production”

5) Cancer Detect Prev, 2000, 24(1):91-9, “A new concept of tumor promotion by tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and cancer preventive agents (-)-epigallocatechin gallate and green tea–a review”

6) Current Opinion in Lipidology, Feb 1998, 9(1):11-15, “The effects of alpha-tocopherol on critical cells in atherogenesis”

7) alternative_treatment_for_cancer_new.pdf#page=276

8) Magnes Res, 2004 Sep, 17(3):189-96, “Elevated concentrations of TNF-alpha are related to low serum magnesium levels in obese subjects”

9)  Dev Immunol, 2002 Sep, 9(3):135-41, “Modulation of TNF-alpha secretion in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by cocoa flavanols and procyanidins”

10) International Immunopharmacology, Feb 2008, 8(2):362-370, “Alpha-lipoic acid inhibits TNF-? induced NF-?B activation through blocking of MEKK1–MKK4–IKK signaling cascades”

11) FASEB Journal, 2001, 15:2423-2432, “?-Lipoic acid inhibits TNF-?-induced NF-?B activation and adhesion molecule expression in human aortic endothelial cells”

12) International Immunopharmacology, October 2007, 7(10):1286-1291, “Anti-arthritic effect of ginsenoside Rb1 on collagen induced arthritis in mice”

13) Phytomedicine, 2002 Jul, 9(5):398-404, “Extractable polysaccharides of Panax quinquefolius L. (North American ginseng) root stimulate TNFalpha production by alveolar macrophages”

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