Liver & Aspirin
Aspirin a day keeps the heart attack away" is one of
the mantras of the health care profession. Indeed, studies
have shown that aspirin is helpful in preventing the clotting
of the blood that can lead to heart attacks. Few people though
seem to be aware of aspirin's dangerous side effects when
only can aspirin cause serious bleeding of the stomach lining
when taken on a regular basis, but convincing new evidence
strongly links aspirin to macular degeneration. Researchers,
as reported in Alternatives magazine, found that in 109 patients
afflicted with macular degeneration, all had been taking frequent
dosages of aspirin.
is a better way
is called Omega-3 and it is as close as you nearest bottle
of cod liver oil.
behind it? We all know that a high fat diet is a good way
to obtain clogged arteries, if that is one of your goals in
life. Wait a minute! Eskimos, who eat staggering amounts of
whale blubber, seal and fatty fish gut, have some of the healthiest
hearts in the world. The reason: The Eskimos have high levels
of omega-3 (polyunsaturated fatty acids) in their blood -
substances derived directly from their marine food. For years
now, researchers have pitted omega-3 against high levels of
cholesterol and triglycerides (circulating fats) as well as
excessive blood clotting, a process that can cause a heart
attack or stroke, and omega-3 almost always came out ahead.
In one study that also included the effects of "good
oils" derived from plants, cholesterol levels dropped
by an average of 11% below control-diet levels, but the omega-3
(fish oil) regimen did something that its vegetable oil counterpart
couldn't: It forced down triglycerides by an amazing 33%!
Now back to the Aspirin angle. Scientists in Munich, Germany,
look at the effect that omega-3 had on platelet function.
What are platelets? They are those tiny blood elements so
crucial to the clotting process. When we but ourselves, we
need them there at the wound, otherwise we would never stop
bleeding. We want platelets to stay loose and out of trouble
- meaning, we do not want them to clump up, choking off the
flow of blood, precisely what doctors want to avoid when they
prescribe daily aspirins.
For 25 days the researchers in Germany supplemented the diets
of a group on men with daily doses of cod-liver oil. Then
they ran a battery of tests to evaluate the men's cardiovascular
systems, particularly the action of platelets. In factors
measuring clotting activity, the men registered significant
improvements because of their fish-oil intake. Platelet counts
went down, their aggregation decreased, even bleeding times
increased, another indication that the risk of dangerous clotting
had been reduced.
"The findings," say the investigators, "paralleled
observations in active Eskimos, who have unique nutrition
and a low death rate from heart trouble caused by fatty deposits
and blood clots." But the biggest surprise was what the
fish oil did for the men's blood pressure: It actually pulled
it down. While they were taking the cod-liver oil, their systolic
blood pressure dropped an average of of nearly ten points.
In conclusion, omega-3 fatty acids, the researchers note,
may be a new preventive for atherothrombotic disease - a preventive
that should be stacked against the best convention therapies
currently available, including antiplantelet drugs.
Amid all these signs that a little bit of fish oil goes a
long way, there are warning from scientists that most people
are simple not getting enough of it in their daily diet.
"After years of research," says Donald Rudin, M.D.,
former director of the Molecular Biology Department at Eastern
Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Philadelphia, "We
now know that Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely required
by the human body. They are not optional nutrients. Yet most
of the population is deficient in them.
The consumption of cholesterol and fat is way up at a time
when omega-3 consumption is way down. In more ways than one",
says Dr. Rudin, "They're our nutritional missing link."