Monday, September 6, 2010

Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Heart Problems

A study of 1,028,437 healthy Danish citizens found the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Voltarin (or Cataflam), Vioxx, and ibuprofen were associated with an increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Voltarin use was associated with a 91% increased of cardiovascular death compared with patients with no nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory usage. Vioxx (withdrawn from the market in 2004 due to cardiovascular problems) had a 66% increased risk. Compared to nonusers of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, users of ibuprofen (Motrin) were found to have a 31% increased risk of coronary death or non-fatal heart attacks as well as a 47% increase risk of stroke. The authors of this study also found a trend for a higher increase in cardiovascular risk associated with the use of all the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (FP News. July, 2010 and Circ. Cardiovasc. Qual. Outcomes. 2010. June 8, 2010).

Comment: For nearly 20 years, I have been lecturing, writing, and preaching to my patients that you can’t poison a crucial enzyme in the body for the long term and expect a good result. The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs poison an enzyme, cyclooxygenase. More information about the problems with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, 2nd Edition.
Is there a place for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs? The answer is “yes”, sort of. There is no question that these drugs can help patients reduce pain due to inflammation. If these drugs are used, they should be used for the shortest time possible in order to minimize the risk of developing an adverse effect. Are alternative, natural anti-inflammatory items available which do not increase your risk of cardiovascular problems? This answer is, unequivocally, “yes”.

There are many natural anti-inflammatory herbs and vitamins that are very effective at relieving pain due to inflammation. I have found that oral enzymes can have a potent anti-inflammatory effect without the adverse effects associate with medications. Oral enzymes are derived from natural sources. In fact, my experience has shown that the long-term use of oral enzymes (i.e., over four weeks)have a superior anti-inflammatory effect as compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Enzymes can be found in many health food stores. On enzyme product that is particularly effective at providing a strong anti-inflammatory effect is Excelzyme 2AF (taken as 2 pills twice per day without food).

Other anti-inflammatory natural products include cherry juice concentrate (which contains enzymes). All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes which have anti-inflammatory properties. Now you can see why it is important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as they can supply the body with the right anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Intenzyme forte is another enzyme product (made from Biotics Research Company) that has potent anti-inflammatory effects. (All of the products mentioned here can be purchased at my office— Just click the button for product catalogue, then click the anti-inflammatory tab).

There are many different alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. If you are using these medications for the long-term, I would suggest trying to switch to a natural product. Your long-term health will be better for it.


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