Hi, this is Dr. Steve Gangemi and now here in part two of Inflammation and Injuries. I want to discuss NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and why they actually may be more harmful than beneficial for you if you become injured. Now I want to discuss why NSAIDs, actually like ice and stretching, which I’ve discussed in other videos, may actually delay the healing of your injury. So the way the NSAIDs work biochemically are by balancing something called an eicosanoid. An eicosanoid is a hormone-like substance that your body makes as the end result of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory fatty acid metabolism.
So as I discussed a little bit earlier, if you have too many pro-inflammatory fats and not enough anti-inflammatory fats, then you’ll basically have too much inflammation in your body. Then if you take an NSAID, if you take an ibuprofen or an Aleve or a Naproxen or an aspirin, you’ll basically block the last step that is used to make that eicosanoid. So your’re going to block the final step, making too many pro-inflammatory type fats. However, it also blocks the anti-inflammatory fats from being made, so you can’t be selective about which part of the eicosanoid hormone is being made when you take an NSAID. It’s going to block both the pro-inflammatory and the anti-inflammatory fats. So what happens though is if you have a healthy amount of anti-inflammatory fats and a good amount of arachidonic acid from its natural sources, the heavy cream, the grass-fed beef, and the egg yolks, then when you take the NSAID, you actually lower the normal amount of inflammation you need to repair and rebuild your tissue and you’re going to lower the anti-inflammatory omega-3 and omega-6 fats in your body making those eicosanoid type hormones.
So basically what this means is if you have a very unhealthy diet, if you’re under high levels of stress, and if you’re not eating the proper amount of fat to balance your fats in your body, to make the natural amounts of pro and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids and you take an NSAID, then actually the NSAIDs will benefit you. You will feel better, you will have less pain, you’ll have less inflamation, and it may help you heal up. But if you actually have a healthy diet, if you have a healthy lifestyle, and you already have the natural amount of these hormones in your body, then an NSAID cannot only not help you, but it will actually hinder your healing and make the problem even worse. So you might ask yourself, “Why not just take an NSAID? I’ll keep my healthy diet and I’ll just take an NSAID when I need it.” But there’s lots of reasons why not to.
Because for starters, an NSAID, such as ibuprofen, it’s not a necessary component to biochemistry. Aspirin is not a vitamin, as I like to say to my patients. So we want to deal with inflammation in a natural way, not an artificial drug type way. But also NSAIDs cause a lot of problems in their own right. They are linked to liver and kidney issues. They actually deplete a lot of sulfur in your body as your liver tries to break them down and metabolize them. Sulfur is a high component of our connective tissue. So think about it. If you get injured, what are you injuring in every case? You are always injuring some connective tissue, whether it’s a ligament, a tendon, the fascia or the muscle, and now you’re taking an NSAID, which is actually going to deplete the same components that your body needs to repair and regenerate that tissue. It’s depleting the sulfur because it needs to be used to break down the NSAID in your liver rather than help heal up that tissue.
Also, NSAIDs cause a lot of GI distress and actually they can cause a mixing of the blood with even fecal material of your gut. For people who have taken way too many NSAIDs for too long, they’re actually seeing bacteria, colon bacteria found in people’s blood from taking too many NSAIDs because they’re tearing up their gut and they’re always causing little micro-tears and little ulcerations in their digestive track from taking NSAIDs. These even happen if you take just a small amount, I should say, of an NSAID. Even if it’s an aspirin here and there, you’re going to create some stress, some minor ulcerations to your gut, and therefore hinder normal digestion and absorption and assimilation of vitamins and minerals that you need not only to stay healthy but also to stay fit and heal up from your injury.
So whether you take an NSAID because you have pain or an injury right now or you take one all the time to try and keep a chronic injury or a chronic pain at bay, think about trying to get inflammation controlled naturally in your body. That means eating properly, that means controlling stress. Again, we’ve talked about these in other videos about how foods can help or hinder you. Think about possibly considering a fish oil supplement, eating more raw nuts and seeds, getting all the vegetable oils, and especially the hydrogenated vegetable oils out of your diet, and maybe even consider some natural anti-inflammatory herbs like quercetin or turmeric, those are really good natural anti-inflammatory herbs rather than taking an NSAID that is going to have a very temporary effect on your body and most likely, if not today, eventually will end up causing more harm than good to your health.