Even Baby Aspirin Has Risks

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Dear Readers,

A few weeks ago newspaper headlines called aspirin therapy into question. Currently, almost one third of older Americans take a baby aspirin every day to help prevent heart attacks. And a new study, the headlines shouted, shows that while aspirin therapy does indeed help prevent heart attacks, it also creates other problems. For every heart attack that aspirin therapy prevents, the London study says, it causes two “bleeding events.”

This study is not the first to show potential dangers with long-term use of aspirin. We’ve known for decades that aspirin can harm the delicate lining of the digestive tract. And if you read my Drug Mugger book, you’d know aspirin is a drug mugger of vitamin C which you need to keep your arteries elastic, and potassium which is needed for healthy blood pressure.

The 64 thousand dollar question here is: What exactly do the researchers mean by “bleeding events”? By definition, these events could include hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding from ulcers, and bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract. These are pretty serious conditions; impending signs of a “bleeding event” may include abdominal pain or heartburn. The supplement called Glutamine (about 1,500 mg per day) offers protection against aspirin-induced stomach ulcers. And FYI, ginger is an effective blood thinner which soothes your GI tract, rather than stripping it.

The most effective thing you can do to reduce heart attack risk is move! Even walking briskly for 20 minutes a day offers aerobic benefits. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and avoid anything fried or greasy. Do not eat processed foods. No more carbs or grains, they raise cholesterol. Consider nutrients like vitamin C and D, magnesium, taurine, aged garlic and the herb called Hawthorne. Last week I wrote about CoQ10 and fish oils for cardiovascular benefit. To receive this article via email, sign up for your “free health tips newsletter” at my website.

Drink more water, go to sleep earlier, meditate and reduce micro-stressors in your life. Constantly replaying bad situations in your mind doesn’t help you and stress is a killer. It contributes to stroke, heart attack, obesity, diabetes and cancer so don’t sweat the small stuff.

Our culture trains us to pop a pill for all our ills. As a pharmacist, I assure you that many drugs just blow the smoke out of the house while the fire rages. You must uncover the underlying imbalances and deficiencies and genetic SNPs (snips) that increase heart attack risk.

Take control of your lifestyle and diet, it’s never too late. I’m recommending two books to help inform you and minimize your risk for cardiovascular disease. These are both by Stephen Sinatra, MD, Reverse Heart Disease Now and The Cardiac Solution: Metabolic Cardiology. In an upcoming article, I am going to devote a column to the importance of nitric oxide in the heart, and will share some truly pioneering cardiovascular research by Dr. Nathan Bryan. Stay tuned for that.