The painful truth about pain relievers

Got a splitting headache or a fever or joint pain? Before you pop that pill, read this: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is thinking of taking pain relievers containing    acetaminophen off the counters of drugstores.

Overuse of acetaminophen (like Tylenol) has been linked to liver damage. Acetaminophen use is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the US. More, a cause for worry among FDA officials is the rise of products that combine acetaminophen with other medications, leading unknowing consumers to overdose by taking too much of a medication or by taking too many different products at once.

As you probably know, we can’t live without our liver, which plays multiple roles in our body — for instance, storing fuel from food, making the proteins the body needs, and helping to remove toxins.

The FDA advisory panel also recommended to the FDA to take popular prescription painkillers Vicodin (a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen) and Percocet (a combination of oxycodone and    acetaminophen) as well as their generic versions off the market because of their harmful effects on the liver when taken for extended periods.

Long-term Tylenol use has been associated with kidney failure. Experts believe that Tylenol depletes glutathione, an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals.

A study that came out in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine says that regular use of acetaminophen is linked to higher rates of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as reduced lung function.

So, if you do take Tylenol or other types of acetaminophen, you can limit some of the damage, according to health activist Dr. Joseph Mercola, by taking N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), “the rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione.” To limit their toxicity, Mercola says that NAC should have been included with all the prescription acetaminophen products on the market today.

The painful truth is pain is a telltale sign that something is wrong in your body. And pain relievers, as their name suggests, can only relieve the pain. They don’t get to the root of the pain.

If you’re not in the habit of popping a pill for every little pain or you’re a natural health buff, try these alternative pain relievers from Dr. Mercola:

• Ginger. An anti-inflammatory herb, it offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.

• Boswellin. Also known as boswellia or Indian frankincense, this herb has specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. It’s been proven to work with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.

• Krill oil. The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA in krill oil have been found by many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties.

• Bromelain. This enzyme found in pineapples is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple may also help.

• Cetyl myristoleate (CMO). This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, doubles as a joint lubricant and an anti-inflammatory. It helps relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome

• Evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils. These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.

• Cayenne cream. This spice comes from dried hot peppers, which is why it’s also called capsaicin cream. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.

And three more things that can relieve pain without drugs are yoga, acupuncture, and, yes, even holding hands (the healing power of the human touch).

Excuse me while I take a sip of my ginger tea. I have a headache!

source: Philippine Star