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Author Topic: 81 mg Baby Aspirin Therapy  (Read 6838 times)

Offline JennaA

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81 mg Baby Aspirin Therapy
« on: June 03, 2008, 01:49:09 PM »
My Dad recently asked me what I thought of taking baby aspirin for cardiovascular health. As a new student, I'm curious what the "Bauman" opinion of this kind of therapy is. I've heard it can do more harm than good. What kinds of supplements are recommended for the cardiovascular health of a 62 year old man with a history of heart disease in the family?

I'm not sure if I posted this in the best place...  thanks, jenna

Offline Nori

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Re: 81 mg Baby Aspirin Therapy
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 02:56:20 PM »
The best way to support cardiovascular health is the E4H model, green tea, regular appropriate exercise, quality sleep, careful but regular exposure to sunlight, and stress reduction.   In addition, supplements that could be very helpful include Essential Fatty Acids, Digestive Enzymes, an quality multi vitamin without iron or copper (unless diagnosed to need them), and possibly some CoQ10. 

I recently collected some info from my own archives about aspirin as it pertains to cardiovascular health. Below is what they say (with references):

Aspirin Dangerous and Ineffective for People With Heart Failure

Daily Dose

June 3, 2003


Think what's sold over the counter can't put you under a

You already know how I feel about the "aspirin-a-day" kick
that every doctor in the whole nation seems to be on right
now - ostensibly for the prevention of heart disease. In
fact, I wrote a Daily Dose on the subject just last month...

But just to reiterate: I think "aspirin therapy" is crazy.
Not only does aspirin increase the risk of potentially lethal
internal bleeding, it's also makes blood MORE likely to clot
up, not less!

And as if these reasons weren't enough to make you flush your
Bayer down the commode, there's new research about over-the-
counter (OTC) pain relievers that's even more damning: It
turns out that taking Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) in
combination with aspirin actually doubles your risk of death

from heart-related causes!

That's right: According to a study of eight years' worth of
medical records of over 7000 patients conducted by Britain's
Medical Research Council (and reported in my favorite medical
journal, The Lancet), if you pop Ibuprofen for any reason -
say, arthritis pain relief - while engaged in aspirin therapy
for heart disease, you're twice as likely to keel over from a
heart attack because of the way these two powerful drugs

These findings only prove what I've been saying all along -
that just because something is available over the counter
doesn't mean it's harmless, or that it can't kill you...

In fact, a recent survey by the National Consumers League
found that 44 percent of adults KNOWINGLY exceeded the
recommended dose of OTC pain-relievers - while only 16
percent had even read the warning label! Lunacy. Didn't these
people hear about the dangers of possible liver damage from
unintentional acetaminophen overdosing?

I wonder if these folks would have been so careless if they'd
known that Federal officials estimate that annually over
150,000 Americans end up in the emergency department  because
of complications from OTC pain-relievers - while
these "harmless" meds kill 16,000 of us outright every

Here's my recommendation: Take OTC medicines like aspirin,
acetaminophen, and ibuprofen only when you're in pain - and
never take them simultaneously or exceed the maximum dosages
as listed on the labels (if you can even read them, they're
printed so small).

And remember, these are DRUGS. Be sure to treat them that way.

Here's to knowing what's harmless - and what's not,

William Campbell Douglass II, MD


(Monday, October 27, 2003)

Maggie Fox (Reuters- Washington, D.C.) reported that "Women who take an
aspirin a day - which millions do to prevent heart attack and stroke as well
as to treat headaches - may raise their risk of getting deadly pancreatic
cancer, U.S. researchers said on Monday. . . Pancreatic cancer affects only
31,000 Americans a year, but it kills virtually all its victims within three
years. The study of 88,000 nurses found that those who took two or more
aspirins a week for 20 years or more had a 58 percent higher risk of
pancreatic cancer."

Hungry Heart

Health Sciences Institute e-Alert

October 30, 2003


Dear Reader,

If you're a woman who takes a daily aspirin to help prevent
heart attacks, you might have gotten a jolt earlier this week
when major newspapers and TV networks reported that aspirin
therapy raises the risk of pancreatic cancer in women.

As usual, the headlines and 20-second health briefs managed to
emphasize the frightening aspect of the reported study without
delving into the details that bring this news down to earth.

Does daily aspirin therapy really cause pancreatic cancer?
Probably not. But that doesn't mean that aspirin therapy comes
without other health risks.

And fortunately there are healthier natural alternatives to the
daily aspirin routine.

When studies collide

Let's start with the new study that got all the attention

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) reviewed data
collected over 18 years for more than 88,000 women from the BWH
Nurses' Health Study. Announcing their findings earlier this
week at a meeting sponsored by the American Association for
Cancer Research, the BWH team reported that the long-term use of
aspirin may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in women.

And that was the gist of the information you were left with if
you caught the news while getting ready for work or if you only
had a moment to glance at the headlines.

In fact, only 161 of the 88,000 women developed pancreatic
cancer. But the fact that pancreatic cancer risk increased by
more than 85 percent among women who reported taking two 325 mg
aspirin tablets every day over many years, was significant
enough to establish a clear association.

At a news conference, BWH researchers said they were surprised
by their results. They also cautioned that based on this single
study, women should not stop taking aspirin to help prevent
heart attacks because the long range heart-protective benefits
outweigh the relatively low possibility of risking pancreatic

I'm sure that one of the reasons their results were unexpected
was that one year ago, a similar study came up with the exact
opposite conclusion. In the 2002 research, seven years of data
from the Iowa Women's Health Study showed that among more than
28,000 postmenopausal women, the risk of pancreatic cancer
DROPPED by over 40 percent in subjects who used aspirin therapy.
And the cancer risk was lowest among women who took aspirin most

So even though some newscasters this week made the "aspirin may
cause pancreatic cancer" conclusion sound like a done deal, the
fact is that much more further research will be needed to sort
out the true association between aspirin use and this very
deadly form of cancer.

Taking the up with the down

In addition to all its previous good press as a heart health
superstar, for some time, aspirin has been regarded as a
possible cancer-fighter. Aspirin is a non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and NSAIDs have been shown to
block Cox-2 enzymes that trigger the type of inflammation
thought to be responsible for the creation of blood vessels that
feed cancer cells and the promotion of cancer cell division.

But of course, there's a down side. As we've discussed in other
e-Alerts and Members Alerts, all NSAIDs, including aspirin and
ibuprofen, have been shown to contribute to liver and kidney
impairment, as well as gastrointestinal conditions such as
bleeding and ulcers. Add to that a study late last year that
associated NSAIDs with an increased risk of hypertension in
women, and you have an over-the-counter medication that carries
almost as many unhealthy side effects as some prescription

Orange you glad I said banana?

Ironically, there are many people who are taking a daily aspirin
who may already be getting plenty of heart attack protection
from the foods they eat.

In the e-Alert "Pain Takes a Holiday" (9/8/03) I told you about
a 15-month study of almost 2,000 subjects that showed how those
whose diets included the highest fruit intake had more than 70
percent reduced risk of heart attack and other cardiac problems
compared with those who ate the least amount of fruit. On
average, for every additional piece of fruit consumed each day,
subjects showed a 10 percent reduction in coronary risk.

And vegetable intake produced a similar effect. Subjects who
consumed vegetables three or more times each week had
approximately 70 percent lower heart attack risk than those who
ate no vegetables at all.

These heart protective benefits are most likely due to
flavonoids, the substance that gives fruits and vegetables their
color. Flavonoids have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
qualities; two benefits that may help curb several chronic
diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, asthma,
and type 2 diabetes.

Tea is another good source of flavonoids. The May 2003 issue of
the HSI Members Alert featured an article about the specific
flavonoids in both green and black teas. But the problem with
getting these nutrients through tea drinking is that you would
need to drink an enormous amount of tea every day to get a
disease preventive effect.

What we know

Everyone is different, and each of us responds differently to
any kind of supplement or medication. So one person may reap
benefits from a daily aspirin, while another won't. One person
may suffer aspirin's side effects, while another never has a

So if you're currently taking a daily aspirin for heart health,
keep in mind that the long-term plusses and minuses are still
largely unknown, but an increase in fruits and vegetables might
be just the thing your heart has been hungry for.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute

"Long Aspirin Use Tied to a Cancer" The New York Times,
"Aspirin Raises Pancreatic Cancer Risk" Daniel DeNoon, WebMD
Medical News, 10/27/03
"Aspirin Shown to Reduce Risk of Pancreatic Cancer" British
Medical Journal, Vol. 325, Pg. 356, 8/17/02,
"Study: Use of Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Linked to Hypertension"
Harvard University Gazette, 10/31/02,
"More Research Showing Fruit and Veg Benefits; No Further
Explanation", 9/2/03,
"Not an Easy Feat: Podiatrist Indicted for Billing of Feetless
Patients" NBC4 TV, 10/24/03,

Dear Reader,

More than 100 years ago it was the first medication to be
mass-marketed in tablet form. Today, more than 80 million
tablets are taken by Americans every day, and worldwide sales
will top $29 billion dollars this year. There have been
contenders and there have been pretenders, but for sheer
longevity as a household word, no pharmaceutical has ever had
a run quite like aspirin.

An HSI member named Elizabeth prompted today's e-Alert topic
with this question: "I want to ask what you think of the
large advertising campaign and increasing usage of baby
aspirin as a prevention for cardiovascular problems. Do
stomach problems possibly counter-balance any benefits from
this therapy?"

You might think that after a century of research that has
produced more than 23,000 scientific papers, the answer to
Elizabeth's question would be simple. But contrary to its
reputation, almost nothing about aspirin is simple.

Bringing up baby

The term "baby aspirin" doesn't apply to a type of aspirin,
of course, but rather a low dosage tablet designed for
children. In recent years, this low dosage (commonly, 81 mg
in the U.S. - a bit lower in Europe) has been promoted as a
preventive for cardiovascular disease - by some estimates,
accounting for as much as 50 percent of the total aspirin
market in the U.S. This is largely due to a high profile
advertising campaign from Johnson & Johnson for their low-
dosage St. Joseph's brand aspirin. Their target is the heart-
health-conscious, baby boomer demographic - all the grownup
Mouseketeers who remember taking St. Joseph's when we were

But does it really work? And is it risky?

One possible answer to that first question can be found in a
study published earlier this year in the British Medical
Journal. Scientists at Oxford University reviewed 287 studies
that involved more than 200,000 subjects. Noting that many
previous studies had confirmed that aspirin may prevent blood
platelets from sticking together and forming clots, the
Oxford team concluded that a daily low dose of aspirin
reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by 25 percent.

As for gastrointestinal risk, all nonsteroidal anti-
inflammatories (NSAIDs), including aspirin and ibuprofen,
have been shown to contribute to stomach upset, ulcers, and
liver and kidney impairment. For most people, however, a low
dosage intake of aspirin presents a low risk of these
problems. But that doesn't mean you're out of the woods.

No place to run

Here's a scenario that I'm sure is played out, in variations,
for many thousands of people every day: Joe is approaching
retirement age. Concerned about his high homocysteine and LDL
cholesterol levels, he takes 81 mg of aspirin daily to reduce
his heart attack risk. But he's also experiencing some
arthritis pain in his knees, which he finds he can control
reasonably well with a few ibuprofen tablets every week. The
problem here is how the two analgesics interact.

In an e-Alert I sent you last December ("Hidden Risks of Over-
the-Counter Painkillers" 12/21/02) I told you about a study
reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed
how ibuprofen use can block aspirin's antiplatelet abilities.
So while Joe takes care of his arthritis pain, his aspirin
regimen to protect his heart becomes useless. But that same
study showed that acetaminophen does not negate the heart-
healthy effects of aspirin. So, reading about this, Joe jumps
from ibuprofen to acetaminophen to treat his arthritis pain,
secure in the knowledge that his aspirin is effective again.

But now Joe has set up other potential problems. In that same
e-Alert I told you about another study that shows how regular
use of acetaminophen and aspirin together more than DOUBLES
your risk of serious organ failure. So if Joe should have a
sudden flare up of his arthritis pain and responds by
increasing his acetaminophen intake, he's suddenly putting
himself at greater risk of liver and kidney damage.

Shelter from the storm

At this point, Joe is probably feeling like he can't win. But
he does have alternatives.

In the HSI Members Alert last March ("Natural Version
of 'Super Aspirins' Stops Inflammation, Pain - and May
Prevent Ulcers Rather than Cause Them") we told members about
bromelain; a safe, natural alternative to NSAIDs that can
relieve arthritis pain AND thin the blood without damaging
side effects. A protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapple,
bromelain is often used as part of a nutritional approach to
arthritis management, and has also been shown to reduce
platelet aggregation.

There are also alternatives to acetaminophen in treating
headache, fever, muscle aches, menstrual cramps and
toothaches. In an e-Alert I sent you earlier this month ("How
Do You Spell Respect?" 11/5/02), I told you about the herb
white willow - an anti-inflammatory pain reliever that has
compounds similar to aspirin. In fact, white willow's
salicylic acid is the parent compound of aspirin
(acetylsalicylic acid). Salicylic acid, however, has the
benefit of being less abrasive to the stomach and intestine.
And a study published last year in the journal Rheumatology,
showed an extract of willow tree bark to be as effective as a
prescription drug in the treatment of lower back pain.

So even though aspirin is relatively simple compared to the
rest of the pharmaceutical world, it should still be given
the respect that you would give any medication - that is:
it's a useful drug with a number of benefits and some obvious
drawbacks. Not to mention a few natural and effective

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute

"Collaborative Meta-Analysis of Randomised Trials of
Antiplatelet Therapy for Prevention of Death, Myocardial
Infarction, and Stroke in High Risk Patients"
British Medical Journal, 2002;324:71-86
"Baby Aspirin Recommended for Heart" Dr. Joseph Mercola,
"Miracle in a Bottle on its 100th Birthday, the Tablet's
(Aspirin) Looking like a Lifesaver" Medizin 2000 Info Netzwerk
"St. Joseph 81mg Aspirin Returns, This Time for Baby Boomers"

Nori M. Hudson, BA, MS
Instructor, Bauman College, Berkeley
Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition by and Registered with NANP
Certified Diet Counselor, Nutrition Educator,  Nutrition Consultant, and Nutrition Teacher through Bauman College