Ibuprofen Associated With Fertility Problems in Men, Study Finds


The next time you’re reaching for a tablet of Advil or Motrin for a quick cure to a headache or back pain or something, you might want to find another pain reliever of choice — especially if you’re a man with a family plan. A new studypublished Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found ibuprofen can harm testicles and lead to impaired fertility in men.

 Pile%20of%20Ibuprofen%20tablets

The study, led by a group of Danish researchers, is part of a broader investigation of the physiological side-effects of regular use of over-the-counter pain relievers. It’s a direct follow-up of studies on how aspirin, acetaminophen (better known by the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen (of which Advil and Motrin are the most well-known brand names) affect pregnant women, finding that each of these medications adversely affected testicles of male babies while inside the womb.

Ibuprofen use is particularly common among athletes who use over-the-counter pain relievers quite frequently. The research team found 31 male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35, and gave 14 participants daily doses of ibuprofen of about 600 milligrams twice a day — a rate that’s fairly common for professional and amateur athletes alike. That’s the same maximum dosage recommended by drug makers and listed on the label of products like Advil and Motrin. The rest of the volunteers were put on a placebo.

After just 15 days, the researchers observed signs of dysfunction in the testicles for the men taking ibuprofen. The body’s pituitary glads secrete what are called luteinizing hormones that simulate testosterone production by the testicles. Regular ibuprofen use, it turns out, starts to modulate the rates and levels of luteinizing hormone secretion, as well as causing the ratio of testosterone and luteinizing hormones in the blood to decrease.

As a result, the participants started experiencing what’s called compensated hypogonadism, which can lead to decreased fertility, depression, and higher risk of experiencing heart failure or stroke.

The researchers followed up the trial with lab studies of human testicle samples provided by organized donors, verifying that the impact ibuprofen has on testicles and testosterone even outside the body.

There are two big things worth mentioning here. The first is that the sample size for the clinical side of the study is extremely small, so even with the lab experiments, the results as a whole really need to be taken with a grain of salt. The second thing is that with how quickly ibuprofen use affected testicular activity, the research team thinks the effects are pretty easily reversible.

Questions arise, however, whether those same effects are reversible even after long-term use. For athletes or patients with chronic pain, who have used ibuprofen for years, it’s unclear how permanent those hormone changes might be, or to what extent the negative impacts on fertility could be rectified.

Although the study is small, it’s bound to jumpstart greater investigations into how over-the-counter pain relievers affect fertility, given how popular the use of these drugs is. Men using ibuprofen might want to switch to a different drug of choice the next time they feel a headache coming on.

This Common Painkiller Could Be Negatively Affecting Male Fertility


Male fertility could be at a tipping point. Last year, scientists discovered sperm counts in western countries had plummeted by 50 percent in 40 years, and while the reasons behind the decline are complex, many researchers say the phenomenon is due to men’s hormones being disrupted.

 

Now, one of those disruptors has come to light. In a new study, scientists show the common painkiller ibuprofen can have a negative impact on testicular health, altering hormone production and inducing a condition called compensated hypogonadism, which affects reproductive health in men.

“Our immediate concern is for the fertility of men who use these drugs for a long time,” biomedical researcher David Møbjerg Kristensen from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark told The Guardian.

“These compounds are good painkillers, but a certain amount of people in society use them without thinking of them as proper medicines.”

While previous research had already demonstrated that foetal exposure to ibuprofen and other analgesics (like aspirin and paracetamol/acetaminophen) could be harmful, less was known about its potential effects on adult men.

To find out, researchers recruited 31 male participants aged between 18 and 35, giving half of them a moderate dose (600 milligrams, equivalent to three tablets) of the drug daily for six weeks, while the other group took a placebo.

For context, up to 3,200 mg per day is considered the maximum daily adult limit by some medical sites. But even a small fraction of that dosage had a negative effect on the men after two weeks of daily use.

Within 14 days, the men taking daily ibuprofen exhibited an increase in luteinising hormones – which help regulate testosterone production – indicating the drug had impaired healthy testicular function, forcing the body to compensate by boosting testosterone levels.

While this effect wasn’t permanent, the researchers warn prolonged use of ibuprofen by men could potentially progress to more serious conditions causing low testosterone production – which might end up harming their fertility.

“[I]t is also of concern that men with compensated hypogonadism may eventually progress to overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterised by low-circulating testosterone and prevalent symptoms including reduced libido, reduced muscle mass and strength, and depressed mood and fatigue,” the team writes.

While researchers are welcoming the findings, they also say the most alarming outcomes are unlikely for most people. Also, given the results come from such a small sample, more research is definitely needed.

“Further studies are required to investigate whether this mild effect of ibuprofen could significantly impair testicular function in terms of testosterone levels, or fertility, after long term use – this study did not examine effects on fertility,” explains endocrinologist Ali Abbara from Imperial College London, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“The effects were very mild even after six weeks of regular consumption of ibuprofen, which is longer than is usually recommended in practice, so this data should not concern men who occasionally take ibuprofen for pain relief.”

As for those whose use isn’t so occasional? The results aren’t yet clear.

But given how athletes routinely use the medication to help with recurring sports injuries, experts say this is something we definitely need to stay aware of – because despite how some might abuse it, ibuprofen isn’t something that was ever intended to be taken casually.

“[T]he alarm has been raised now,” one of the team, Bernard Jégou from the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France told CNN.

“[I]f this serves to remind people that we are really dealing with medical drugs – not with things which are not dangerous – this would be a good thing.”

The findings are reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thyme Plant extract revealed to be more effective than ibuprofen


thymeoil

Significant research has found thyme essential oil and its constituent thymol to be antiseptic. In fact, many mouth washes and antiseptic wipes often contain thymol.

 New research is also finding that thyme oil also reduces pain. Who would have thought?

Well, traditional medicines have been using thyme oil and other essential oils to help relieve pain for centuries.

thymeoil

Study finds Thyme Oil beats out Ibuprofen for pain relief

Researchers from Iran’s Babol University of Medical Sciences has confirmed that thyme is not only an excellent pain-relieving herb. It also reduces pain of difficult menstruation better than ibruprofen.

 The researchers tested 84 women university students who had reported difficult menstruation. The young women were aged between 18 and 24 years old. All were suffering from primary dysmenorrhea.

Primary dysmenorrhea is usually defined as painful cramping that may or may not come with other symptoms such as back ache, nausea, headaches and dizziness. Secondary dysmenorrhea usually indicates menses pain that is related to another underlying condition.

Here the researchers added to the definition of primary dysmenorrhea that it appears within two years of the beginning of menses (menarche) and no pelvic pain during the other parts of the monthly cycle. This is logical because painful menses is more frequently seen among younger women within the first few years of the beginning of menses

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS OF THYME OIL

Antiseptic: Thyme essential oil is a good antiseptic and safeguards wounds and sores against infections. This is mainly due to the presence of components like Caryophyllene and Camphene in thyme.

 Tonic: Thyme essential oil also tones up the circulatory system, heart, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, and skin while fortifying them and boosting immunity.

Hypertensive: You might raise your eyebrows about this medicinal property and may not see it as a benefit. However, this property is very beneficial for those who are suffering from low blood pressure. Those type of people run the risk of falling unconscious at any time, and feeling sluggish. This oil can normalize their blood pressure by raising it, which is just as important sometimes as lowering it.

Antirheumatic: There are two main reasons behind rheumatism, arthritis and gout. The first is improper or obstructed circulation, and the second one is an increasing concentration of toxins like uric acid in the blood stream. Thyme essential oil can sort out both of these problems. Since it is a diuretic, it increases urination and helps in the removal of toxins from the body. Being a stimulant, it stimulates or activates circulation and thereby sorts out this problem in a separate way. Both ways helps cure rheumatism, and related conditions like arthritis.

Additional uses include:

• Thyme is useful on infections of the urinary tract and bladder, and also acts as a diuretic, increasing its effectiveness

 • Also use for candida and vaginitis

• Use to kill nail fungus

• Thyme is an ingredient in natural hand sanitizers

• Add thyme to a hot compress to relieve rheumatic pain, muscular aches and pains, sprains, sports injuries, sciatica, arthritis, gout

• Crush the fresh herb or use diluted oil as first aid on insect bites and stings

 • Use on athlete’s foot. For this use, you can apply the oil neat, or undiluted, but protect the skin with some fatty cream. Other neat applications include animal bites and boils.

• Use a one percent solution as an antibacterial wash for fresh produce

• Use in hair and skin care regimes, as a hair tonic or in a face wash and for treatment of things like acne or warts

• Use thyme in a sitz bath or massage to stimulate menstruation for weak or missing periods

• Use to kill parasites

Soure:http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com

 

Women who take paracetamol and ibuprofen risk going deaf.


 

  • Taking two pills a week for more than six years has been linked with hearing loss
  • The drugs are thought to cut blood supply to the inner ear and expose it to noise
  • And painkillers are responsible for 1 in 20 women suffering from partial deafness
  • The latest findings back up similar research in men, according to experts 

Women who take paracetamol or ibuprofen just twice a week could be damaging their hearing permanently.

Taking two painkillers a week for more than six years has been linked with significant hearing loss, with the drugs thought to cut blood supply to the inner ear and expose it to noise damage.

As many as one in 20 women suffering partial deafness could blame their painkiller use, a study has found.

Women who take paracetamols or ibuprofen just twice a week could be damaging their hearing permanently, scientists claim

The findings back up similar research in men, suggesting middle-aged women, who commonly take paracetamol and ibuprofen for headaches and back pain, should consider cutting down.

Senior author Dr Gary Curhan, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, said: ‘Hearing loss is extremely common and can have a profound impact on quality of life.

‘Finding modifiable risk factors could help us identify ways to lower risk before hearing loss begins and slow progression in those with hearing loss.’

Almost one in 12 women take paracetamol on two days of every week, the US study found, usually to ward off routine aches and pains. This could be only two pills over the two days, or a greater dose.

But paracetamol, ibuprofen and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs taken this often for more than six years raise the risk of developing hearing loss by nine per cent.

This was found by examining 55,850 women between the age of 44 and 69 – almost half of whom reported a hearing problem.

Around one in six people in the UK have hearing problems, which can leave people feeling cut off and lonely and has been found to speed up memory loss and dementia.

As many as one in 20 women suffering partial deafness could blame their painkiller use, the new study has found

The study suggests this could be down to paracetamols, which most people think little of swallowing routinely but evidence shows can reduce the blood supply to the cochlea, or inner ear.

Paracetamol is also believed to deplete antioxidants within the ear, making the cochlea more vulnerable to noise-induced damage. Painkillers damage the tiny hairs within the ear which help us hear and have been linked in younger and older women with a higher risk of hearing loss.

BUT IBUPROFEN MAY BE HELPFUL…

Regular doses of ibuprofen may lower smokers’ risk of lung cancer, research last week revealed.

It is known the painkiller, a non-steroidal drug, eases inflammation in the body.

But researchers at Ohio State University found clear evidence that – taken in small doses at regular intervals – it can dispel much of the inflammation that leads to tumors in the lungs.

It is one of the first studies to have examined specific types of anti-inflammatory medication, and how they affect smokers’ cancer risk.

Dr Curhan added: ‘Although the magnitude of higher risk of hearing loss with analgesic use was modest, given how commonly these medications are used, even a small increase in risk could have important health implications.’

It is the first study on the duration of paracetamol use and hearing loss, taken as any damage to the ears after 1990 in the women from the US Nurses’ Health Study. However aspirin, which now tends to be taken in lower doses, was not associated with loss of hearing.

Sohaila Rastan, executive director of biomedical research at charity Action on Hearing Loss, said: ‘This study suggests that there may be a small increased risk of hearing loss in women who take over-the-counter painkillers for a long period of time.

‘However, more research is needed to establish whether painkillers are the actual cause of this hearing loss or if other factors are involved.

‘It would also be important to understand how painkillers might be damaging the ear, if they are indeed the cause.’

 

 

Doctors Urging People Over 40 To Stop Taking Ibuprofen Immediately – Here’s Why!


If like many people around the world, when you’ve got a bad headache or a niggling pain you probably reach for a bottle or pack of ibuprofen (trade name Advil).


The chemicals inside this pharmaceutical medication will dull the pain superficially but is it safe? 

Is Ibuprofen really safe?

There are some real serious risks associated with even casual use of the drug.
The most concerning is the potential risk for heart damage.
In 2005, the FDA issued out an ibuprofen warning, claiming that it significantly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke and just last year, they strengthened this warning.
The FDA rarely does this.
After an extensive review of the drug, they issued the following statements:
 
“Even with short term use, one’s heart attack and stroke risk increase significantly”
 
“This risk increases the longer one continues to use ibuprofen”
 
“You do not need to have an existing heart condition to be at risk, although such a condition does increase your chances”
 
“These risks make ibuprofen especially dangerous to individuals over 40 – the age at which one’s risk of heart disease begins to skyrocket”
You have to bear in mind that the FDA approves some pretty nasty medications, but even they are raising a red flag when it comes to this over the counter drug.

Don’t Be Fooled

The major problem with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen – or acetaminophen, for that matter – is that people generally assume they pose no major risk.
A prescription is seen as an indicator of seriousness. In its absence, most people just shrug and pop pills whenever they even think they need to.

Don’t worry there are other, natural options for pain relief.

Have you tried turmeric before?
Turmeric is a plant related to the ginger family. It naturally blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. And that’s key – because while drugs like ibuprofen simply work to reduce inflammation, turmeric prevents it. For some conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, it works much better than pharmaceuticals.

American Heart Association says Ibuprofen may exacerbate heart failure


A recent statement from the American Heart Association has revealed that many common drugs, including ibuprofen, may cause or worsen heart failure. The organization is also reportedly urging doctors to thoroughly check over all of their patients’ medications, including those that they take without a prescription, in order to ensure their lives aren’t at risk.

Image: American Heart Association says Ibuprofen may exacerbate heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood around the body. Some of the symptoms include extreme tiredness, breathlessness and swelling of the legs. It often develops in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, and the condition tends to deteriorate over time

The CDC reports that nearly 6 million American adults will experience heart failure. Statistics from 2009, indicate that roughly one-in-nine deaths list heart failure as a contributing condition. Nearly half of all people diagnosed with heart failure will die within five years of their diagnosis, according to the CDC. In other words, heart failure is a serious condition. Given that the average heart failure patient takes about seven medications daily, it is easy to see where things could become problematic. This is especially true if their medications are not being managed properly.

The statement from the AHA was released in July, and was also published on the website of the organization’s journal Circulation. Robert L. Page II, the chair of the committee that formulated the statement has commented: “Since many of the drugs heart failure patients are taking are prescribed for conditions such as cancer, neurological conditions or infections, it is crucial but difficult for healthcare providers to reconcile whether a medication is interacting with heart failure drugs or making heart failure worse.” Page is also a professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy.  He also notes that while patients are often instructed to read food labels and be mindful of their diets, they are not often advised to watch what over-the-counter drugs they may be taking.

Ibuprofen is cited as being especially problematic for patients with heart failure. Patients who take ibuprofen or similar drugs are 10 times more likely to experience flare-ups. It’s estimate that they are also about 33 percent more likely to require a hospital admission.

This underlines how very dangerous just about any drug can be, especially if you have a preexisting health condition.

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

Top Doctors Are Now Warning Anyone Over 40 To Stop Taking Ibuprofen Immediately. Here’s Why


Doctors often prescribe Ibuprofen to their patients, in the case of headaches, pain in the back, or a toothache.

Yet, even though these pills relieve the pain for some time, it is not permanently cured. For instance, you will wake up with the same pain every morning, leading to constant frustration and pain.

Additionally, besides the fact that they do not cure the pain, the regular use of this pills may seriously damage health, especially the heart muscles, and even leading to death over some time.

Fortunately, you can use one much safer, completely natural option that will actually provide the wanted effects, and will not lead to harmful side-effects.

Turmeric is a commonly used plant with amazing healing properties and originates from southern Asia. Turmeric has been commonly used in the Asian medicine for millennia, and effectively treats both, hidden, and pronounced pain.

The turmeric powder, which is available in all grocery and food stores, is high in potent polyphenols, and the spice has been confirmed to have over 600 health benefits.

This is how to treat the pain in a completely natural and cheap way:

You should mix a tablespoon of turmeric powder, the juice of one squeezed lemon, and a cup of honey. Stir well with a wooden spoon, and add a teaspoon of this mixture to a cup of warm tea.

Drink this for three times a day, and the pain will be relieved very soon.

In this way, you can forget about Ibuprofen and all kinds of painkillers.

Furthermore, you can daily drink this remedy and enjoy all its health benefits. Turmeric is included in the recipes of numerous top chefs around the world, and its characteristic color and taste are often used in the smoothies of health gurus.

According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, this spice is also extremely effective in the case of osteoarthritis.

This study lasted for 6 weeks and includes 109 knee osteoarthritis patients. During the study, some patients received 800 mg of Ibuprofen, while the rest were given 2,000 mg of turmeric. Also, researchers measured the level of pain during physical activities and exercise, like climbing stairs, walking, and bicycling.

In the end, patients who consumed turmeric showed far better results. The researchers confirmed that turmeric is much more effective, and far safer option to treat pain than Ibuprofen.

Hence, it is the time you turn to the safer option as well, and whenever you are advised to take these pills, substitute them with turmeric and enjoy your natural drink that will treat numerous health issues!

Ibuprofen Kills Thousands Each Year, So What Is The Alternative?


Ibuprofen Kills Thousands Each Year, So What Is The Alternative?

A recent Reuters’ article opened with the following stunning sentence:

“Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers, researchers said.”  

The 2004 Vioxx recall, as you may remember, was spurred by the nearly 30,000 excess cases of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths caused by the drug between 1999-2003. Despite the fact that scientific research had accumulated as early as 2000 linking Vioxx to increased heart attacks and strokes, the drug’s manufacturer Merck, and the FDA, remained silent as the death toll steadily increased.

The Reuters report focused on new research published in Lancet indicating the risk of heart attack increases as much as a third and the risk of heart failure doubles among heavier users of NSAID drugs.

INFLAMED: Our Default Bodily State

Why are so many folks taking NSAID drugs like ibuprofen anyway?

Pain and unhealthy levels of inflammation are fast becoming default bodily states in the industrialized world. While in most cases we can adjust the underlying pro-inflammatory conditions by altering our diet, and reducing stress and environmental chemical exposures, these approaches take time, discipline and energy, and sometimes we just want the pain to stop now. In those often compulsive moments we find ourselves popping an over-the-counter pill to kill the pain.

The problem with this approach is that, if we do it often enough, we may kill ourselves along with the pain…

Ibuprofen really is a perfect example of this. As mentioned above, this petrochemical-derivative has been linked to significantly increased risk of heart attack and increased cardiac and all-cause mortality (when combined with aspirin), with over two dozen serious adverse health effects, including:

  1. Anemia[1]
  2. DNA Damage[2]
  3. Hearing Loss[3]
  4. Hypertension[4]
  5. Influenza Mortality[5]
  6. Miscarriage[6]

Ibuprofen is, in fact, not unique in elevating cardiovascular disease risk and/or mortality. The entire category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to have this under-recognized dark side; cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality score highest on the list of over 100 unintended adverse health effects associated with their use. See also our analysis of the rarely acknowledged dark side to aspirin: The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives.

So, what does one do? Pain is pain. Whether it happens to you, or you witness it in another (which can be worse), finding relief is a top priority.

Ibuprofen Kills More Than Pain, So What Is The Alternative?

Research on Natural Alternatives To Ibuprofen

Here is some evidence-based research on alternatives to ibuprofen, sourced from the National Library of Medicine:

  1. Ginger – A 2009 study found that ginger capsules (250 mg, four times daily) were as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle (primary dysmenorrhea). [7]
  2. Topical Arnica – A 2007 human study found that topical treatment with arnica was as effective as ibuprofen for hand osteoarthritis, but with lower incidence of side effects.[8]
  3. Combination: Astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin C – A 2011 animal study found this combination to be equal to or better than ibuprofen for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation.[9]
  4. Chinese Skullcap (baicalin) – A 2003 animal study found that a compound in Chinese skullcap known as baicalin was equipotent to ibuprofen in reducing pain.[10]
  5. Omega-3 fatty acids: A 2006 human study found that omega-3 fatty acids (between 1200-2400 mg daily) were as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain, but with the added benefit of having less side effects.[11]
  6. Panax Ginseng – A 2008 animal study found that panax ginseng had analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen, indicating its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties.[12]
  7. St. John’s Wort – A 2004 animal study found that St. John’s wort was twice as effective as ibuprofen as a pain-killer.[13]
  8. Anthrocyanins from Sweet Cherries & Raspberries – A 2001 study cell study found that anthrocyanins extracted from raspberries and sweet cherries were as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2.[14]
  9. Holy Basil – A 2000 study found that holy basil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory activity comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.[15]
  10. Olive Oil (oleocanthal) – a compound found within olive oil known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.[16].

There are, of course, hundreds of additional substances which have been studied for their pain-killing and/or anti-inflammatory effects, and there are also aromatherapeutic approachesthat do not require the ingestion of anything at all, but there is also a danger here. When we think of taking an alternative pain-killer to ibuprofen, we are still thinking within the palliative, allopathic medical model: suppress the symptom, and go on about our business. It would behoove us to look deeper into what is causing our pain. And when possible, remove the cause(s). And that often requires a dramatic dietary shift away from pro-inflammatory foods, many of which most Westerners still consider absolutely delightful, e.g. wheat, dairy, nighshade vegetables and even wheat-free grains, etc.


[1] Direct cytotoxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in acidic media: model study on human erythrocytes with DIDS-inhibited anion exchanger. Pharmazie. 2002 Dec;57(12):848-51. PMID: 12561250

[2] Genotoxicity of ibuprofen in mouse bone marrow cells in vivo. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2012 Jan 27. Epub 2012 Jan 27. PMID: 22283434

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Cinnamon May Be Superior to Ibuprofen for Menstrual Pain, Study Reveals


Why risk using a pain killer with deadly side effects? Natural alternatives are often not only safer but at least as effective.

New research reveals that cinnamon powder is effective at reducing symptoms of painful periods (primary dysmenorrhea) in college age students.

Cinnamon VS Ibuprofen For Menstrual Pain

Published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research and titled, “Comparative effect of cinnamon and Ibuprofen for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized double-blind clinical trial,” Iranian researchers evaluated the effect of either 420 mg of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), 400 mg of ibuprofen, or a starch placebo, in three groups of 38 females. Both pain intensity and duration were monitored in all groups, with the results reported as follows:

The mean pain severity score and mean duration of pain in Ibuprofen and Cinnamon were less than placebo group respectively (p< 0.001). Of 4 hours after the intervention there were no statistically significant differences between the Cinnamon and placebo group (p> 0.05). Of eight hours after the intervention, the mean pain severity in the cinnamon group was significantly lower than placebo group (p< 0.001). At various time intervals the mean pain severity in the Ibuprofen group were significantly less than Cinnamon and placebo groups (p< 0.001).”

The researchers concluded:

“Cinnamon can be regarded as a safe and effective treatment for primary dysmenorrhea. More researches are recommended to study the efficacy of Cinnamon on reducing menstrual bleeding.”

Discussion

Why do we consider cinnamon superior to ibuprofen? Considering the well known dangers of ibuprofen, which is estimated to kill several thousand a year from its cardiovascular side effects alone, cinnamon’s potential role as a natural alternative to this drug is highly promising. Unlike ibuprofen, cinnamon is not known to have cardiotoxic properties. To the contrary, it is known to have both blood pressure lowering and blood sugar lowering properties, both which may confer protection against cardiovascular disease.

As far as the question of its role in menstrual bleeding addressed in the conclusion above, a recent randomized, double-blinded clinical trial found that it actually reduced the severity of menstrual bleeding in women, making it a win-win as far as difficult or inconvenient menstruation symptoms go.