A recent study consisting of 116,000 people has supported other research that NSAIDs pack a dangerous risk for your heart.
NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are a very popular class of drugs that are used for many things including fever reduction and pain management. They are most commonly used to reduce the aches and pains of every day life such as headaches, back pain and arthritis. Below is a list of NSAIDs that are approved in the U.S.
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- diclofenac (Voltaren)
- diflunisal (Dolobid)
- etodolac (Lodine)
- ibuprofen (Motrin)
- indomethacin (Indocin)
- ketoprofen (Orudis)
- ketorolac (Toradol)
- nabumetone (Relafen)
- naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- oxaprozin (Daypro)
- piroxicam (Feldene)
- salsalate (Amigesic)
- sulindac (Clinoril)
- tolmetin (Tolectin)
The names you will recognize are probably aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. They are the best-selling of the NSAIDs.
This new research was a meta-analysis of 31 other studies that looked at prescription strength NSAIDs. The data, however, likely applies to the over the counter NSAIDs one can buy right off the shelf. It is very easy to take prescription strengths simply by taking too many of the over the counter version, something millions of Americans do every day.
What was found was that by taking these medications there is a significant increase in the risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death. The study did not take into account the known risk of bleeding associated with the entire NSAID class of drugs. (Click here to read about “baby” aspirin and its dangers.)
So what do you do if you have pain?
The most important thing you need to do is consume an anti-inflammatory diet. The principles of this diet work on the same metabolic pathways that the NSAID class of drugs does, but without the nasty side effects. Plus, by changing your diet you get the added benefit of more energy, a better cholesterol profile and reduction in total inflammatory load. These are things the NSAIDs could never claim to do.
There are also supplements that work quite well. First, fish oil is a must. It is potently anti-inflammatory and there are many studies to back up its usefulness in pain reduction. Be sure to get a high quality fish oil. Low quality fish oils are filled with toxins and will do more harm than good at worst and do nothing beneficial at best.
For pain reduction I recommend 6 grams (6,000 mg) per day of fish oil. The number of capsules that will take depends on the potency of the brand you buy. You will likely get more for your money if you buy the oil and take it by the teaspoon.
Other supplements that work quite well are the anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger and turmeric. When taken consistently, they significantly impact pain levels. They are also available in many products over the counter. I always recommend, however, that one sees a health care practitioner that is trained in functional medicine before trying this on your own. Your results will be much better if you see a doctor who can manage your care with you.
Enzymes such as bromelain are also of benefit. Bromelain is an enzyme derived from pineapples. It is potently anti-inflammatory.
NSAIDs are overly used and are often misused. This, in part, leads to their problems. If people could change their diet and use natural alternatives for pain management, heavy reliance on NSAIDs could be a thing of the past. In my book, that would be a great thing.