Aspirin can’t help it, that is how it works
Aspirin works by destroying an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. The enzyme helps cells to talk to one another via the eicosanoid language.
It is a complicated language, but at the end of the day, the cell chit chat is either positive or negative. Negative messages (bad eicosanoids) cause inflammation, positive messages (good eicosanoids) stop inflammation.
Aspirin stops all talk, good and bad.
Stopping the bad eicosanoids brings relief from the pain caused by inflammation. Unfortunately, stopping the good eicosanoids, can cause problems.
This is what happens in your stomach when you swallow an aspirin.
The stomach is a difficult neighbourhood because it has a high acidity. The acidity is necessary to digest dinner, but cells living in this environment need to take precautions so that they are not accidently digested.
The cells use good eicosanoid chit chat to protect themselves.
The good eicosanoids make sure that there is plenty of mucous produced. This is important because mucous is slimy and sticky (think of snot), so it is able to cover the cells lining the stomach with a thick slimy coating. The coating keeps these cells separated from the acid. So dinner is digested, but the cells are safe and cosy under the mucous carpet.
The good eicosanoids also help to keep the amount of acid produced in check.
Aspirin pulls up the carpet
Swallowing an aspirin stops the cells from producing good eicosanoids. The absence of good eicosanoids means that less mucous is produced and acid levels increase.
The cells lining the stomach suddenly lose their mucous carpet.
No carpet means that they are no longer impervious to the effects of the acid. The acid burns some of them, causing bleeding and pain.
The burn happens in everyone. Some cells scream louder than others, so some people notice the burn, while others don’t. You are more likely to notice the burn, if you take aspirin often and larger doses on an empty stomach.
Can you stop the burn ?
Not completely, but you can limit the impact.
The three strategies to take the burn out an aspirin pill
- Take aspirin with “food”
- Take a special formulation of aspirin, so that it doesn’t work in the stomach (enteric coated)
- Take the aspirin along with a supply of good eicosanoids. The pill which contains good eicosanoids is called misoprostol.
PS. The special formulations of aspirin make the pill significantly more expensive.
Risks versus benefits
Finally, watch the dose. How much and how often you are taking the pill, will determine the risks.
A little bleeding every now and again is not a problem – the benefit of the aspirin, will usually outway the risk. But if you are taking aspirin often, the odds that it burns a permanent hole i.e. an ulcer increase significantly.
Pain is not normal
Pain happens because your cells are unhappy, you have too many bad eicosanoids and not enough good eicosanoids – you need to balance your eicosanoids.
Treating the symptom may bring relief, but will not solve the problem in the long run. It important to figure out why your cells are unhappy – visit your doctor for a once over.
The 7 Big Spoons™ will help to bring down inflammation so work on getting these sorted to beat problems caused by inflammation.
|The cardiovascular power of a pain killer (aspirin) unplugged||Salt stokes the fires of the belly||Stress eruptions cause gut residents to flee|
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