Why Aspirin Is So Dangerous To Your Health

An interesting study by Rice University researchers may go a long way toward explaining why aspirin -- especially in high doses -- causes dangerous side effects, including serious stomach and intestinal bleeding, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and hearing loss.

Scientists determined salicylate -- an active substance found in aspirin -- weakens lipid membranes which disrupt the lining of the stomach, thereby failing to protect underlying tissue from the acidic contents of the gut. A similar mechanism can also interfere with the way prestin -- a protein critical for mammalian hearing -- works too.

Membranes exposed to physiological concentrations of salicylate were thinner, more permeable, easier to bend and more likely to rupture, said the study's co-author.

An interesting caveat to this study that should remind you to always pay attention to the messenger when it comes to anything involving your health: The study was co-sponsored by a Houston startup company looking to launch a reformulated version of ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever that's just as hazardous to your health.

Studies like this one are solid proof you should seek out safer, healthier solutions to relieve your pain.

Biophysical Journal September 1, 2005

EurekAlert September 19, 2005

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