Aspirin to some, acetylsalicylic acid to others, this synthetic compound helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. So it comes to no surprise that many doctors recommend it when dealing with fevers or pain recovery. A few even believe it can help prevent heart attacks.
But is this pill really some sort wonder pill? Aspirin is already a source to use to help reduce fevers, relieve pain especially in muscular joints, and stop headaches. Now a study earlier this year suggests aspirin can combine with enzyme GAPDH which causes human cells to die on purpose.
By limiting GAPDH, aspirin could limit cell death and thus stop diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Another recent study shows that daily usage of a low doses (81-100 milligrams or less) of aspirin for at least a decade can reduce the threat of cancer up to 35-50 percent. These studies are coming out now because scientists only recently began to figure out why aspirin works even though it has been regularly used for more than a century. Its medicinal uses were actually first theorized way back around 400 B.C. by a physician named Hippocrates. He claimed that if a bark of a willow tree was ground into powder, it could treat pains and fevers. Because of his work and discovers, Hippocrates is now regarded as the father of modern medicine.
Yet it wasn’t until 1829 when the salicin was a compound found in the bark as the real reason for the successful treatment. Salicin helps in headaches, but is hard on the stomach and cause bleeding in the digestive tract. Decades later, the compound was mixed in with sodium and acetyl chloride, thus creating acetylsalicylic acid. By 1899, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer had trademarked the name Aspirin and was selling the pill for medicinal purposes. Oddly, it wasn’t until the 1970s when scientists began to figure out how aspirin worked.
Aspirin reduces pain by limiting prostoglandins, a hormone-like compound formed by the body’s enzymes. When in pain, prostoglandins are created to provide neural response to the brain. With aspirin bonding with them, it limits the process and limits the pain. The compound also is bond with platelets which initiates blood clotting. The bonding again limits the process, helping to prevent blood clots. Aspirin also affects the hypothalamus which regulates body temperature, thus causing fevers to go down. However, prostoglandins also do some good as it is the compound which keeps stomach lining thick.
Taking aspirin too often can cause stomach bleeding as the lining are no longer keeping the stomach acids contained to just digesting one’s food intake. Also, the benefits of aspirin can sometimes be overstated. While it can reduce a second heart attack, it won’t stop heart attacks or strokes from occurring in people with no previous hereditary issue. Even the safety coating of aspirin to protect against stomach bleeding could only result in the small intestine to suffer from bleeding. Still, many doctors recommend many people to take it every day, but should they?
Those who do take it regularly should be on the lookout for potential negative side effects. Also, aspirin isn’t for everyone. People who have stomach ulcers and bleeding disorders shouldn’t be taking aspirin. Some people are allergic to aspirin or ibuprofen. Children under ages of 16 shouldn’t take it unless under specific medical supervision. Speaking of medical supervision, there are other groups who should be wary of taking aspirin and should consult a physician before doing so.
Those include people who suffer from asthma, who have liver and kidney problems, or women late in their pregnancies. So while aspirin can be safe for some, it could produce more harmful effects for others. In other words, be sure to consult with a doctor about one’s medical condition before using it daily.