Saturday, December 20, 2014

Aspirin: It kills 20,000 Americans every year - The Evidence Against Aspirin (Baby Aspirin Included) And For Natural Alternatives

Common over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin kill around 20,000 Americans every year, and another 100,000 end up in hospital as a result of taking the drug, new research reveals.

Painkillers known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs) are far more dangerous than people have been told, and can cause life-threatening gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, stomach perforations and ulcers.

More than 14 million Americans regularly take an NSAID for their arthritis pain alone, and around 60 per cent of these will suffer gastrointestinal side effects – and will probably never blame the drug, researchers from the Eastern Virginia Medical School estimate.
The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives:
Taking a "baby aspirin," i.e. an 81 mg dose, is considered safer -- which it is relative to a 325 mg "adult dose" – but is known to cause widespread and significant gastroduodenal damage.  A study published in 2009 in the journal Currrent Medical Research & Opinion titled, "Gastroduodenal toxicity of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid: a comparison with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," found the following:
Data suggest that ASA causes significant gastroduodenal damage even at the low doses used for cardiovascular protection. These effects (both systemic and possibly local) may be pharmacodynamically distinct from the gastroduodenal toxicity seen with NSAIDs.[18]
Researched aspirin alternatives include:
  • Pycnogenol: A human study published in 1999 in the journal Thrombotic Research found that pycnogenol was superior (i.e. effective at a lower dosage) to aspirin at inhibiting smoking-induced clotting, without the significant (and potentially life-threatening) increase in bleeding time associated with aspirin use.[22] The abstract is well worth reading in its entirety:
The effects of a bioflavonoid mixture, Pycnogenol, were assessed on platelet function in humans. Cigarette smoking increased heart rate and blood pressure. These increases were not influenced by oral consumption of Pycnogenol or Aspirin just before smoking. However, increased platelet reactivity yielding aggregation 2 hours after smoking was prevented by 500 mg Aspirin or 100 mg Pycnogenol in 22 German heavy smokers. In a group of 16 American smokers, blood pressure increased after smoking. It was unchanged after intake of 500 mg Aspirin or 125 mg Pycnogenol. In another group of 19 American smokers, increased platelet aggregation was more significantly reduced by 200 than either 150 mg or 100 mg Pycnogenol supplementation. This study showed that a single, high dose, 200 mg Pycnogenol, remained effective for over 6 days against smoking-induced platelet aggregation. Smoking increased platelet aggregation that was prevented after administration of 500 mg Aspirin and 125 mg Pycnogenol. Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not. These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol." [emphasis added]
Pycnogenol also has about as many "side benefits" as aspirin has side effects. You can view them on our pycnogenol research page.
  • Policosanol: Already well-known for its ability to modulate blood cholesterol levels as effectively as statins, but without their notorious side effects, this sugar cane wax extract has been found to be as effective as aspirin at inhibiting clotting, but at a lower, safer dose.[23]
Ultimately, however, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, for instance, are not caused by a lack of aspirin. To explore further the research related to preventing and treating heart disease naturally, visit our Health Guide: Heart Health.
"Pycnogenol is a trademarked name for pine bark extract, and there is little to no difference between the two in terms of composition or effects."
Aspirin is made of the salicylate derived from the willow bark with a chemical tag called acetyl. The acetyl is combined with the salicylate to form the active ingredient in aspirin, which is acetylsalicylate.  White willow bark causes severe gastric distress. Hippocrates knew this in 400 B.C. when it was used by the ancient Greeks. Aspirin is a blood thinner and should be used with caution if you are on other medication. The main difference between aspirin and white willow bark is acetyl. In the late 1800s, scientists discovered that combining acetyl with salicylate prevented the gastric distress caused by salicylate. This allowed aspirin to become a viable and marketable product. Read more :