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  Aspirin  
 
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Although it is still "politically correct" to recommend aspirin for preventing heart disease and some type of strokes, the evidence in support of this use is very weak or non-existent. Major studies have found no benefit. The one study that supposedly found a dramatic benefit used Bufferin, a compound containing aspirin and magnesium [Physicians Health Study, NEJM Jan 28, 1988]. The benefits seen in this study can be explained by the presence of magnesium.

Aspirin also inhibits delta 6 desaturase, the enzyme which converts essential fatty acids into their metabolically active constituents.

2013. In an attempt to bring clarity to the topic, UK researchers sifted through the most recent evidence from nine randomized controlled trials - which are considered medicine's gold standard - and other systematic reviews of such trials. They found a total of 27 studies between 2008 and 2012 that fell within their criteria.

"Too many healthy people think that aspirin will prevent heart attacks and cancer," said Dr. Peter Sandercock of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Sandercock has extensive research experience in this subject, but was not involved in the current study.

"This shows that if you are healthy, with no symptoms of cardiovascular disease, then it's not sensible to take regular aspirin. It won't improve your health," he told Reuters Health. [Reuters Health story of December 16, 2013]
 

 
 

Aspirin can help with the following:
 
 
Circulation  Thrombocytosis
 Often, no treatment is required for reactive thrombocytosis. However, in primary thrombocytosis, with platelet counts over 750,000, and especially if there are other risk factors for thrombosis, aspirin at low doses is thought to be protective, and extreme levels are treated with hydroxyurea (a cytoreducing agent).

  Increased Risk of Stroke
 Aspirin reduces platelet 'stickiness' or aggregation as do other natural products that 'thin blood'. The use of aspirin to reduce clotting and stroke risk, even at doses as low as 81mg three times per week, is still controversial. The risks at the lowest doses are low, but the benefit may be limited. Aspirin seems to work better in men with low blood pressure than high, and in men who have had a previous heart attack compared to those who have not. There are many natural substances that can reduce stroke risk with fewer side effects.


Not recommended for:
  Bleeding Tendency

Inflammation

  Chronic Inflammation
 Drugs that reduce inflammation are effective, but even the relatively "safe" ones such as aspirin can cause gastritis or even an ulcer.

Musculo-Skeletal

Not recommended for:
  Gout / Hyperuricemia
 Among the more common predisposing factors to hyperuricemia are kidney failure from any cause, diuretic use, dehydration, hormonal diseases, alcohol consumption and using low doses of aspirin. Aspirin, which normally reduces pain, raises uric acid levels and makes gout pain worse!

Risks

  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack
 First it was an apple, now it is an aspirin a day that may keep the doctor away. Aspirin has become standard for heart attack prevention, but research published in the online open access journal BMC Medicine suggests that this may really be a man's drug.

Scientists have long puzzled over why the protective effects of aspirin vary so widely between clinical trials. Some trials show no difference between aspirin and placebo, whilst others report that aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack by more than 50%.

This latest study, from The James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, highlights the influence of gender on aspirin's protective powers. Investigators examined the results of 23 previously published clinical trials for the effect for aspirin in heart attack prevention, involving more than 113,000 patients. The authors then analysed how much the ratio of men to women in these trials affected the trials' outcomes.

"Trials that recruited predominantly men demonstrated the largest risk reduction in non-fatal heart attacks," says Dr Don Sin, one of the study's authors. "The trials that contained predominately women failed to demonstrate a significant risk reduction in these non-fatal events. We found that a lot of the variability in these trials seems to be due to the gender ratios, supporting the theory that women may be less responsive to aspirin than men for heart protection." []
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Avoid absolutely







GLOSSARY

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Enzymes:  Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Essential Fatty Acid:  (EFA): A substance that the human body cannot manufacture and therefore must be supplied in the diet.

Magnesium:  An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.