Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs, are readily available at gas stations, convenience stores and pharmacies nationwide. They’re sold over the counter, and you can buy them at pretty much any age. Our casual relationship with NSAIDs suggests that they are harmless drugs, but the truth is that they are actually quite dangerous. One of the most hazardous effects of NSAID use is the potential for gastrointestinal bleeding, which can even be lethal.
Of course, the health risks associated with NSAID use are nothing new; research has alluded to these ill effects for many years. In 2005, a study published by the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, found that chronic use of these over-the-counter pain relievers led to an increased risk of visible damage in the small intestines and intestinal bleeding. Science Daily reports that the study’s findings indicated that “71 percent of those who were exposed to NSAIDs for more than 90 days had visible injury to their small intestine.” The injuries ranged from small amounts of tissue erosion to more serious and severe ulceration.
In 1998, a statement in an issue of the The American Journal of Medicine revealed the following:
Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone. The figures of all NSAID users would be overwhelming, yet the scope of this problem is generally under-appreciated.
That was almost 20 years ago, folks.
And if research indicates anything at all, it’s that more people are taking over-the-counter drugs for pain relief. A study published by the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety in 2014, found that NSAID use had skyrocketed in just five years. Between the years 2005 and 2010, there was a whopping 41 percent increase in use! Don’t you think that the number of people dying from or being harmed by NSAIDs is probably even higher now? According to PharmaDeathClock, about 277,400 people have died from NSAID use over the last 16 years. That’s over 17,000 people per year – and that still may be a conservative estimate.
NSAID use is ingrained in our society. When you have a headache, you take a pain reliever. When you’ve got joint or muscle pain, or even a fever, most doctors tell you to try taking an NSAID – if they don’t try to sell you something stronger. This constant use of pills will only cause one thing, and that’s bleeding in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
One thing that can help to prevent and treat stomach and intestinal ulcers is aloe vera gel. A 2008 review, published by the international, peer-reviewed journal Molecules, discusses the healing effects of aloe vera. The review’s author, Josias H. Hamman, from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa, notes that aloe vera gel has been heralded for its wound healing properties. He writes that several studies have confirmed that both topical and systemic applications of aloe can enhance the body’s ability to heal wounds, which some might say suggests that consuming the plant can help with intestinal healing as well.
The effects aloe vera gel has on intestinal ulcers and gastric secretions is also documented in the review. There are several theories behind the potential healing affects of aloe vera gel. Some studies have shown that it can inhibit gastric acid secretions, but the effect is concentration dependent. Other studies have suggested that its protection against ulceration may come from different mechanisms, such as its anti-inflammatory properties. Other hypotheses that explain aloe vera’s ability to boost healing in the digestive tract include cell protection benefits, increased production of mucosal lining, increased phospholipid content of the mucosal lining and increased mucosal blood flow.
In other words, it is likely that in some way, aloe vera gel helps to boost the integrity of the intestinal mucosal lining, which in turn protects again ulceration and possibly increases healing potential. Studies have shown that aloe vera can help with aches and pains as well. So, instead of taking NSAIDs for everything, perhaps it’s time to start trying aloe instead.
As Mike Adams, the Health Ranger once said, “Of all the herbs I’ve ever studied — and I’ve written thousands of articles on nutrition and disease prevention — aloe vera is the most impressive herb of them all.”
While the research may lag behind this plant’s amazing health benefits, you certainly don’t have to do so.
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