Snake venom may replace aspirin for heart disease patients


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/snake-venom-may-replace-aspirin-for-heart-disease-patients/

Is Aspirin the New (Old) Immunotherapy?


Hello. I’m David Kerr, professor of cancer medicine from the University of Oxford.

For those of you who follow me on Medscape and WebMD, you know that I don’t like aspirin: I love it. I think it’s a wonderful drug. There’s a lot of work going on just now looking at its molecular pharmacology.

There’s a great recent paper published by Dr Tsuyoshi Hamada and colleagues[1] looking at the role of aspirin as an immune checkpoint blockade inhibitor. It’s a lovely study. Using part of a retrospective sample collection, they were able to look at the impact of post-primary treatment use of aspirin in patients with resectable colorectal cancer.

They hypothesized that patients who had tumors with low expression of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) would be more sensitive to the beneficial effects of aspirin. They looked at just over 600 patients. [The study used] a beautiful statistical analysis that stratified [findings] and accounted for all of the other contributory factors that might be tied up with aspirin’s use: PIK3CA mutations, [CDX2 expression], and even tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. It’s what you would expect from a research group of this quality. The analysis was done very carefully indeed.

At the end of the study, they showed that their hypothesis was correct. Patients with tumors with relatively low expression of PD-L1 (also known as CB274) did better than those patients who had tumors that expressed high levels of PD-L1, for which aspirin seemed to have no benefits at all.

This all fits in with the link-up between the prostaglandin E2 pathway and immune suppression. It suggests that aspirin may be yet another potential partner drug that may enhance the activity of the huge excitement around the drugs which block the PD-L1, PD-1, the whole immune checkpoint pathway just now.

It was a really nice, very carefully conducted study. The results were quite compelling in terms of the survival benefits accrued to postsurgical use of aspirin in patients with low levels of PD-L1 expression. It again shows the importance of the microenvironment in determining the outcome of tumor behavior. This gives some potential therapeutic insight into why aspirin might be a very useful companion drug to give in combination with these rather more expensive, more complex immune blockade inhibitors.

Aspirin wins again. There’s yet more plausible biological mechanism supporting its use.

 

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IIT Madras scientists discovers how inexpensive aspirin might be killing cancer cells


For more than three years, word has been going around among scientists that aspirin, the inexpensive painkiller that is also given to heart-disease patients, can kill cancer cells. However, they did not know how, until now.

Recently, a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, has discovered how this non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug terminates cancer cells.

Repretentational Image

More details about the study:

  • The study was published in peer-reviewing journal Scientific Reports
  • It found that aspirin targeted malignant cells which are high in a protein called voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC)
  • “The drug induces high levels of calcium ions in the mitochondria of the cancer cells. Elevated levels of calcium prevent mitochondria from breaking down food into energy. Aspirin prevents this energy production and releases toxic substances that kill the cell,” said IIT-M Professor of Biotechnology Amal Kanti Bera

Stats on cancer cases in India

  • It is estimated by cancer registries that 14.5 lakh Indians live with the disease
  • Every year, more than seven lakh new cases are registered and 5.5 lakh die of cancer
  • An estimated 71 per cent of all cancer-related deaths occur in the age group 30-69 years
  • On an average, cancer treatment costs Rs 1.75 lakh for a patient. The cost may go up depending on the type and stage of cancer, and the hospital where the treatment is being done

Why is this study important?

This study will help pharmaceutical researchers design more potent anti-cancer drugs, said researcher Debanjan Tewari, who began his PhD work on aspirin three years ago when animal studies showed anti-cancer properties in this protein.

It will be a revolution if low cost molecules and salts like those in aspirin can kill cancer cells. This can pave way for affordable therapy. The scientists are not able to comment on the direct use of aspirin as cancer drugs right now. But with some clinical studies, they are sure they will be able to make good progress in the case.

Aspirin may hold key to preventing miscarriages


Faulty gene is a major cause of repeated miscarriage, researchers say .

Blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin could hold the key to treating a faulty gene that triggers repeated miscarriages.

Doctors have found that a faulty gene can trigger miscarriages

Doctors have found that a faulty gene can trigger miscarriages

One in four pregnancies ends in a woman miscarrying and doctors now believe the recurring problem may owe more to a genetic defect than to fertility complications.

Doctors at Care Fertility, a private provider of IVF treatment, have discovered that the gene can cause miscarriage in the mother even when it is only present in the father.

The fault causes improper blood clotting and can be treated with blood thinners such as aspirin and heparin.

The gene, known as C4/M2, was present in 44 per cent of Care Fertility patients compared with just 15 per cent of the general population.

Prof Simon Fishel, the care body’s managing director, said he believed it could be a major cause of recurrent miscarriage.

With proper treatment, he added, the number of couples having healthy babies increased to 38 per cent, a similar proportion to other infertility patients of the same age.

The findings were published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online.

The genetic fault means the embryo is unlikely to implant in the womb or do so sufficiently, causing late miscarriage or growth problems in the baby.

If the woman is the carrier of the gene, she is also at risk of complications such as blood clots.

Prof Fishel, who led the findings, said: “Very recently a new genetic marker has been found that predisposes couples to the risk of miscarriage, which we call the C4/M2 variant.

“In addition to the risk of implantation failure and miscarriage, it is linked to blood- clotting disorders, pre-eclampsia and low birth-weight babies.

“What I do find remarkable is that in the population of patients studied, the man has the same chance as the woman to pass on this variant to the developing embryo and disturb successful implantation. Where the genetic variant exists, the chance of delivering a baby is reduced to one in four of that of fertile couples.”

Care Fertility intends to screen patients for the faulty gene so they can be treated appropriately.

A spokesman for the Miscarriage Association said: “We always welcome new research into factors that can increase the risk of miscarriage, so we’ll be looking closely at these findings with the help of our research expert advisers.”

Aspirin should be taken by all over 50s to cut thousands of cancer deaths: study


Every middle aged person should take aspirin daily for ten years, experts have said, as a comprehensive study has found it could save 6,000 lives a year by preventing cancer and heart disease .

Middle-aged adults should take aspirin every day for ten years, according to scientists who found it could save more than 6,000 lives a year by preventing cancer and heart disease

Daily aspirin can prevent up to one third of cancers of the bowel, throat and stomach and can halve the risk of dying in some cases, according to the the largest, most comprehensive analysis of the drugs use.

It comes after previous research raised concerns about the side effects of aspirin, which include bleeding and ulcers.

The new study found that while there was a small increased risk of a stroke, stomach bleeding and ulcers, the benefits of taking aspirin made it a “good bet”.

Experts said on balance taking aspirin was akin to taking out a pension, in that it was an investment in middle age that provided benefits later.

Advising otherwise healthy middle-aged people to take drugs to prevent later disease has proven controversial with some warning about medicalising old age. The majority of people taking aspirin would not see any benefit nor any harm from it.

Nevertheless the researchers said daily aspirin is now the most important way to prevent cancer after quitting smoking and losing weight.

Everyone aged between 50 and 64 should take a baby aspirin daily for ten years, they said.

This would save 6,518 lives from cancer per year, along with preventing 474 fatal heart attacks, but at the cost of causing an extra 896 deaths from stroke, stomach bleeding and ulcers, it was found.

Over 20 years the net number of lives saved would be almost 122,000 in the UK, the researchers from Queen Mary University of London found.

Anyone at high risk of bleeding should talk to their GP before taking aspirin, Prof Jack Cuzick said, including those on blood thinning drugs, with diabetes or smokers.

He said the benefits of taking aspirin for longer than ten years were more unclear and that the increased risk of bleeding was enhanced in those aged over 70. However the beneficial effects of aspirin last for years after stopping the drug, he added.

Prof Cuzick said: “Whilst there are some serious side effects that can’t be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity and will probably be much easier to implement.

“The wise person would do both, improve their lifestyle and take aspirin but you can’t improve your lifestyle to the point that aspirin isn’t necessary.

“If the odds of preventing a death are substantially bigger than causing a death, then I think it is a good bet and at this stage we feel aspirin is a good bet.”

He said the figures included in the analysis were conservative and the benefits may be greater and the harms lower than suggested.

The study was partly funded by Cancer Research UK.

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Aspirin is showing promise in preventing certain types of cancer, but it’s vital that we balance this with the complications it can cause – such as bleeding, stomach ulcers, or even strokes in some people.

“Before aspirin can be recommended for cancer prevention some important questions need to be answered, including what is the best dose and how long people should take it for. And tests need to be developed to predict who is likely to have side effects.

“Given the continued uncertainty over who should take aspirin, Cancer Research UK is funding a number of trials and research projects to make the picture clearer.

“Anyone thinking of taking aspirin should speak to their GP first.”

Prof Cuzick said the recommended dose was 75mg per day and that the risk of internal bleeding associated with aspirin could be cut by around one third by testing and treating anyone found to be carrying the infection, H.pylori in their stomachs.

The study, published in the Annals of Oncology looked at more than 200 research papers of different designs on the effects of aspirin on cancer and heart disease.

It as concluded that for every 1,000 people taking aspirin for 20 years there would be 17 lives saved and two deaths caused.

Several of the authors of the analysis declared that they have worked for the pharmaceutical industry connected to aspirin but that the findings and conclusions in the study do not represent their respective organisations.

Aspirin may help in fight against ‘anger syndrome’


Study finds anti-inflammatory drugs may help deal with intermittent explosive disorder, condition that usually begins in late teens and is defined as “failure to resist aggressive impulses”

An unidentified man picking up an aspirin tablet

An unidentified man picking up an aspirin tablet

If you have a quick temper it may calm you to learn that bouts of rage could be cured by simply taking an aspirin.

A study has found that uncontrollable anger may be the result of inflammation in the body. Intermittent explosive disorder (IED), which is known as “anger syndrome”, usually begins in the late teens and is defined as a “failure to resist aggressive impulses”.

US researchers found that IED sufferers had higher markers of inflammation in the blood. Levels of one protein were on average twice as high in those diagnosed with IED, while another marker molecule was present in those with the worst records of aggressive behaviour.

“These two markers consistently correlate with aggression and impulsivity but not with other psychiatric problems,” said Prof Emil Coccaro, the lead scientist from the University of Chicago.

“We don’t yet know if the inflammation triggers aggression or aggressive feelings set off inflammation, but it’s a powerful indication.”

The discovery, which is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, raises the prospect of treating such anger with common drugs such as aspirin, an anti-inflammatory.

Prof Coccaro said uncontrollable rage was a mental health condition that should not be dismissed as “bad behaviour”. A study in 2006 found that the disorder affects up to five per cent of adults.

 

Uncontrollable rage could be cured by drugs like aspirin


Taking an anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin may cure uncontrollable bouts of anger after scientists discovered that fits of extreme temper may be the result of an inflammation in the body.

Uncontrollable anger could be cured by taking aspirin after scientists found excessive bouts of rage may be the result of an inflammation in the body.

Uncontrollable anger could be caused by an inflammation in the body, scientists think

Uncontrollable anger could be caused by an inflammation in the body, scientists think

Intermittent explosive disorder, which is sometimes known as ‘anger syndrome’ usually begins in late teens and is defined ‘as a failure to resist aggressive impulses.’

Sufferers are impulsive, hostile, and prone to recurrent aggressive outbursts of anger.

Not only are the lives of sufferers disrupted, but also those of their family, friends and colleagues. Road rage is said to be a good example of the symptoms.

However researchers in the US found that people diagnosed with IED had higher markers of inflammation in the blood than those with cooler heads and average tempers.

Levels of one protein were on average twice as high in “explosive” individuals while another marker molecule was also present in people with the worst records of aggressive behaviour.

“These two markers consistently correlate with aggression and impulsivity but not with other psychiatric problems,” said lead scientist Professor Emil Coccaro, from the University of Chicago.

“We don’t yet know if the inflammation triggers aggression or aggressive feelings set off inflammation, but it’s a powerful indication.”

Prof Coccaro said uncontrollable rage should not be dismissed as simple ‘bad behaviour.’

“It has strong genetic and biomedical underpinnings,” he said. “This is a serious mental health condition that can and should be treated.”

“Medications that reduce inflammation may also drive down aggression,” said Prof Coccaro.

A study in 2006 found that the disorder affects up to 5 per cent of adults..

Typically, the first episodes of IED rage occur in adolescence, at about age 13 for boys and 19 for girls.

It raises the risk of other forms of mental illness, including depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug abuse.

People with IED are also more likely to develop a host of physical health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, ulcers and headaches

In the past it has been linked to temporal lobe epilepsy, or decreased levels of serotonin, and is thus sometimes treated with anti-depressants.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

7 Ways To Prevent and Even Reverse Heart Disease With Nutrition


7 Ways To Prevent and Even Reverse Heart Disease With Nutrition

You can reverse heart disease with nutrition, according to a growing body of scientific research.

Considering that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the developed world, anything that can prevent cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the cardiovascular disease process, should be of great interest to the general public.

Sadly, millions of folks are unaware of the extensive body of biomedical literature that exists supporting the use of natural compounds for preventing and even reversing heart disease.

Instead, they spend billions buying highly toxic cholesterol-lowering pharmaceuticals with known cardiotoxicity, among 300 other proven side effects, simply because their doctor told them to do so.

So, with this in mind, let’s look at the biomedical literature itself.

Three Natural Substances that Reduce the Risk of Heart-Related Death

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Going all the way back to 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study titled,  “Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death,” which found  “The n-3 fatty acids found in fish are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease.” Another 2002 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.[i] For additional research, view our dataset on the topic of Omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction of cardiac mortality.

It should be noted that the best-selling cholesterol drug class known as statins may actually reduce the effectiveness of omega-3 fats at protecting the heart. This has been offered as an explanation as to why newer research seems to show that consuming omega-3 fats does not lower the risk of cardiac mortality.

Vitamin D: Levels of this essential compound have been found to be directly associated with the risk of dying from all causes. Being in the lowest 25% percent of vitamin D levels is associated with a 26% increased rate of all-cause mortality.[ii]  It has been proposed that doubling global vitamin D levels could significantly reduce mortality.[iii] Research published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased all-cause mortality but also that the effect is even more pronounced with cardiovascular mortality.[iv] This finding was confirmed the same year in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, [v]and again in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.[vi]

Magnesium: In a world gone mad over taking inorganic calcium supplementation for invented diseases such as T-score defined “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis,” despite their well-known association with increased risk of cardiac mortality, magnesium’s role in protecting against heart disease cannot be overstressed. It is well-known that even the accelerated aging of the heart muscle experienced by those in long space flight is due to magnesium deficiency. In 2010, the Journal of Biomedical Sciences reported that cardiovascular risks are significantly lower in individuals who excrete higher levels of magnesium, indicating its protective role.[vii]  Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis in 2011 found that low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.[viii] Remember that when you are looking to ‘supplement’ your diet with magnesium go green. Chlorophyll is green because it has a magnesium atom at its center. Kale, for example, is far better a source of complex nutrition than magnesium supplements. But, failing the culinary approach, magnesium supplements can be highly effective at attaining a therapeutic and/or cardioprotective dose.

For an additional list of compounds that may reduce cardiac mortality, including cocoa, tea, wine and yes, even cholesterol itself, view our Reduce Cardiac Mortality page.

Pomegranate Heart Health Benefits

Four Natural Compounds Which May Unclog the Arteries

Pomegranate: this remarkable fruit has been found in a human clinical study to reverse the carotid artery thickness (i.e. blockage) by up to 29% within 1 year. [ix] There are a broad range of mechanisms that have been identified which may be responsible for this effect, including: 1) lowering blood pressure 2) fighting infection (plaque in arteries often contains bacteria and viruses) 3) preventing cholesterol oxidation 4) reducing inflammation.[x]

Arginine: Preclinical and clinical research indicates that this amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. (see also: Clogged Arteries and Arginine). One of the mechanisms in which it accomplishes this feat is by increasing the production of nitric oxide which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the inner lining has been damaged (endothelium) resulting in dysfunction.

Garlic: Not only has garlic been found to reduce a multitude of risk factors associated with arteriosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the arteries, but it also significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.[xi]  In vitro research has confirmed that garlic inhibits arteriosclerotic plaque formation.[xii]  Aged garlic extract has also been studied to inhibit the progression of coronary artery calcification in patients receiving statin therapy.[xiii]

And let us not forget, garlic’s benefits are extremely broad. We have identified over 150 diseases that this remarkable culinary and medicinal herb has been confirmed to be of potential value in treating and preventing and which can be viewed here: Garlic Health Benefits.

B-Complex: One of the few vitamin categories that has been confirmed in human studies to not only reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries but actually reverse it is B-complex. A 2009 study published in the journal Stroke found that high dose B-complex vitamin supplementation significantly reduces the progression of early-stage subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy individuals.[xiv] More remarkably, a 2005 study published in the journal Atherosclerosisfound a B-vitamin formula decreased the carotid artery thickness in patients at risk for cerebral ischemia.[xv] Another possible explanation for these positive effects is the role B-vitamins have in reducing the production of homocysteine, an artery and otherwise blood vessel scarring amino acid.[xvi]

Additional Heart Unfriendly Things To Avoid

No discussion of preventing cardiac mortality would be complete without discussing things that need to be removed in order to reduce risk, such as:

NSAIDs: Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol, have well-known association with increased cardiac mortality. Review six studies on the topic here: NSAID Cardiotoxicity.

Statin Drugs: It is the height of irony that the very category of drugs promoted to millions globally as the standard of care for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality are actually cardiotoxic agents, linked to no less than 300 adverse health effects. Statin drugs have devastating health effects. Explore the research here: Statin Drug Health Effects.

Wheat: while this connection is rarely discussed, even by those who promote grain-free and wheat free diets, wheat has profound cardiotoxic potential, along with over 200 documented adverse health effects: Wheat Toxicity. And why wouldn’t it, when the very countries that eat the most of it have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease and heart-related deaths? For an in-depth explanation read our article: Wheat’s Cardiotoxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack.

Finally, for additional research on the topic of heart health promoting strategies visit our Health

Aspirin As Secondary Prevention in Patients With Colorectal Cancer: An Unselected Population-Based Study


Abstract

Purpose Regular use of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is associated with reduced incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, aspirin as primary prevention is debated because of the risk of hemorrhagic adverse effects. Aspirin as secondary prevention may be more justified from a risk-benefit perspective. We have examined the association between aspirin use after the diagnosis of CRC with CRC-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS).

Materials and Methods An observational, population-based, retrospective cohort study was conducted by linking patients diagnosed with CRC from 2004 through 2011 (Cancer Registry of Norway) with data on their aspirin use (The Norwegian Prescription Database). These registries cover more than 99% of the Norwegian population and include all patients in an unselected and consecutive manner. Exposure to aspirin was defined as receipt of aspirin prescriptions for more than 6 months after the diagnosis of CRC. Multivariable Cox-proportional hazard analyses were used to model survival. The main outcome measures of the study were CSS and OS.

Results A total of 23,162 patients diagnosed with CRC were included, 6,102 of whom were exposed to aspirin after the diagnosis of CRC (26.3%). The median follow-up time was 3.0 years. A total of 2,071 deaths (32.9%, all causes) occurred among aspirin-exposed patients, of which 1,158 (19.0%) were CRC specific. Among unexposed patients (n = 17,060), there were 7,218 deaths (42.3%), of which 5,375 (31.5%) were CRC specific. In multivariable analysis, aspirin exposure after the diagnosis of CRC was independently associated with improved CSS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.92) and OS (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.01).

Conclusion Aspirin use after the diagnosis of CRC is independently associated with improved CSS and OS.

The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives


Aspirin Dangers, and Natural, Evidence-Based Alternatives

As far back as the 5th century BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about the use of a bitter powder extracted from willow bark that reduced fevers and eased aches and pains.  Native Americans also used an infusion of willow bark for similar purposes. What was this remarkable “healing” principle within the bark that relieved disease?

Known as salicylic acid (from the Latin salix, willow tree), this pain-killing compound is widely distributed throughout plants, where it functions as a hormone.  The more vegetables and fruits you consume, the more likely you are to have a physiologically significant concentration of salicylic acid in your blood.  This is why, for instance, vegans and vegetarians generally have higher levels than most grain- and meat-based consumers. [1]

The chemical acetyl-salicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin, is a synthetic form of salicylic acid, a compound which is formed when salicin, a bitter compound naturally found within plants like white willow bark, is broken down within the human body. Salicylic acid can also be synthesized endogenously from benzoic acid, and its urinary metabolite, salicyluric acid, has been found to overlap levels in patients on low-dose aspirin regimens. Cell research indicates that salicylic acid compounds (known as salicyclates) actually compare surprisingly well to aspirin in reducing inflammatory activity.[2]

While salicylic acid is found naturally in plants as salicylates, acetyl-salicylic acid does not exist in nature, is not formed as byproduct of natural salicylate consumption,[3] and is produced only through industrial synthesis. For example, this is one method of synthesis:

Acetylsalicylic acid is prepared by reacting acetic anhydride with salicylic acid at a temperature of <90 deg C either in a solvent (e.g., acetic acid or aromatic, acyclic, or chlorinated hydrocarbons) or by the addition of catalysts such as acids or tertiary amines.”[4]

Also, the chemical modification of natural salicylic acid with an acetyl group results in the acetylation of hemoglobin,[5] essentially chemically altering the natural structure-function of our red blood cells and subsequent hemodynamics. In essence, aspirin, a semi-synthetic compound, makes the blood tissue itself semi-synthetic.

This could be why aspirin has been linked to such a broad range of unintended adverse health effects, including but not limited to:

We have a section on our database dedicated to indexing the under-reported, unintended adverse effects of aspirin, related to 50 diseases which can be viewed here: Aspirin Side Effects. We also have a section which indexes research on natural compounds studied to prevent, reduce or reverse Aspirin-Induced Toxicity.

According to US EPA statistics, up to 500 thousand pounds of the chemical was produced in the United States in 1998 alone.[17]  Millions the world over take it for pain relief, including your typical headache, but also for the prevention of heart attacks and stroke.

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]

Another 2009 study found that 80% of healthy individuals who uses short-term (14 days), low-dose aspirin experienced small intestinal toxicity, including small bowel mucosal breaks and mucosal inflammation. [19]  Also, there are reports of esophageal mucosal lesions induced by low-dose aspirin and other antiplatelet medications mimicking esophageal malignancy.[20]

Data suggest that ASA [aspirin]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.[21]

Hemorrhagic side effects, in fact, are one of the greatest challenges facing those who use aspirin for prevention.  By taking a drug which prevents clotting, aspirin can work too well, resulting in bleeding disorders or events, some of which may be life-threatening, even lethal.

So, given the serious, unintended adverse health effects of aspirin therapy, what are some evidence-based natural alternatives?

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]

There are actually a broad range of natural compounds, including foods and spices, with demonstrable platelet-inhibiting activity. You will find a list of them on our natural platelet inhibitor pharmacological actions page. Another highly relevant section on our website is theThrombosis Research page.

Ultimately, however, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, for instance, are not caused by a lack of aspirin.