Do you pop a Tylenol or a Motrin whenever you feel a headache (or backache, or knee twinge) coming on?
If so, it’s time to rethink that choice.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like these are in just about every medicine cabinet, purse, and first-aid kit in this country. But don’t let that fool you into believing that they’re safe. The fact is, they’re the biggest contributor to medication-related liver damage in the United States.
Just think about that. Pills that most people consider harmless outrank every single other medication in terms of damage to one of the body’s most vital organs.
And they certainly outrank nutritional supplements, which mainstream medicine would have you believe are poison. But I’ll save that rant for another day.
Today, I have some more news about the dangers of NSAIDs.
It turns out your liver isn’t the only vital organ these “harmless” medications are destroying. New research shows they pose serious risks to your heart as well.
A new analysis found that NSAID use is associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attack. And not only that, but the risk comes on quickly. After only one week of using NSAIDs at higher doses, heart attack risk goes up.
What constitutes high doses? For ibuprofen it’s more than 1,200 mg per day, for naproxen it’s more than 750 mg per day, and for rofecoxib it’s more than 25 mg per day. They may seem high, but if you’re living with pain and are desperate for relief, it’s easy to reach those maximums by late afternoon.
Now I don’t want to be an alarmist here. The risk of heart attack the researchers uncovered in this study is small. The average risk attributed to NSAIDs is only about 1 percent per year. That means that for every 100 people taking NSAIDs for a year, one will have a heart attack because of them.
While that is a relatively small risk, I certainly wouldn’t want to be that one person.
So I beg you. If you feel you need to use NSAIDs, please use the smallest possible dose and for the shortest possible time.
Better yet, take some time to explore the safe, natural alternatives for relieving your pain.
If I have slight pain (a headache or muscle soreness), I either live through it, exercise it away, or find a supplement that can just as easily do the trick.
Some of my go-to’s include:
Arnica. This herbal, homeopathic remedy has been used for more than 500 years to treat pain and inflammation. But it’s got some modern science behind it as well. You can use topical arnica creams. Or you can look for homeopathic sublingual tablets (in the 30x potency). If you opt for tablets, I recommend 5 under the tongue five times per day.
White willow bark. This is Nature’s aspirin. In fact, aspirin is actually a synthetic form of salicin, the natural compound in white willow bark. But the natural form is much, much safer. I typically recommend 400 mg tablets up to four times per day.
Curcumin. This extract comes from the spice turmeric. One study found that 2 grams of curcumin extract provides pain relief similar to ibuprofen.
Capsaicin. This hot pepper extract stimulates circulation, desensitizes nerve endings, and acts as a local anesthetic. It’s usually used topically. And studies have shown it’s very effective for many different types of pain with few — if any — side effects.
Of course, major or chronic pain is a different story. But even then there are safer alternatives. Think about acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy, for instance. My patients have also had a lot of success with OralVisc®, a proprietary blend of glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs), that helps target the inflammatory effects of leptin.
The bottom line is, you should have tools in your toolbox to deal with pain. But none of them should make you risk a heart attack in order to make it through the day comfortably.
P.S. Of course, there’s more to keeping your heart healthy and protecting yourself from heart attack, stroke, etc. than simply avoiding NSAIDs. In my special report The World’s Easiest Heart Disease Cure, I give you detailed, step-by-step advice for armoring your heart with the best weapons Nature has to offer. You can learn more about it or order a copy today by clicking here.