Think aspirin is safe? Think again.

You know that daily aspirin your doctor tells you to take to reduce the risk of heart attack? Turns out it might not be the safe panacea mainstream medicine would have you believe.

I’ve always been a firm believer that if aspirin had to be approved as a medication today, it probably wouldn’t pass the tests. But because it’s been in use for so long — Bayer started selling it in 1899 — many in the medical establishment assume it’s harmless. Yet another example of things we take for granted in medicine, as if it were divine decree. Even though it’s never been tested.

Which is why I was happy to see a major study shining new light on the risks of aspirin, so more people can learn the truth. The study found that taking a daily aspirin is far more dangerous than it’s believed to be. In fact, the researchers state that it causes more than 3,000 deaths a year.

So, if your doctor has recommended daily aspirin, it’s time to reconsider your options.

First, a little background on why doctors prescribe aspirin for heart attack prevention. It’s a blood thinner, which means it keeps blood from clotting. Blood clots in narrowed vessels and arteries can block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. So the idea is that taking a preventative blood thinner will keep the blood flowing and will keep clots from forming.

And to be honest, it is somewhat effective. Research suggests daily aspirin can prevent 20 percent of potential recurrent heart attacks and strokes.

But the problem is, blood thinners cause their own problems — including internal bleeding. And it’s especially risky for older adults. In fact, the study I mentioned above found that people over 75 who take aspirin have 10 times greater risk than younger people of developing a fatal or debilitating bleed.

The fact is, the very thing that makes aspirin effective in heart attack prevention is what makes it so dangerous. We need our blood to clot. That’s what keeps us from bleeding uncontrollably when we fall, get into an accident, or have internal bleeding.

And now, thanks to this study, we know that the well-established risks of aspirin are actually much more prevalent than we realized. The author of the study, from University of Oxford, said that 20,000 bleeds each year can be attributed to blood thinners like aspirin.

Now, here’s where their recommendations and mine diverge. The authors think that the way to reduce the bleeding risks (by up to 90 percent, they say) is to add another medication: a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).

You can see where this is going.

The authors, of course, fail to consider the risks of PPIs. Which include osteoporosis, fracture, Alzheimer’s disease and — you guessed it — heart attack. They’ve even just been found to increase risk of death from any cause by 25 percent. I could go on and on. In fact maybe I will, but I’ll save it for later this week.

In the meantime, this is typical mainstream medicine. Problem with one drug? Here, take another to mask it. And then you’ll have to take more drugs to mask the problems of the second drug, and so on and so forth.

All the while, let’s ignore the safe and natural options for promoting heart health, like nattokinase, vitamin E, and fish oil, just to name a few. Without the risks of pharmaceutical blood thinners. (For a full rundown of all the safe, natural alternatives for keeping your heart healthy, check out my special report The World’s Easiest Heart Disease Cure. You can learn more about it or pick up a copy by clicking here.)

When the risks outweigh the benefits, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Aspirin may seem innocuous, folks, but it is still a drug. As with any drugs, proceed with caution.