NEWS: Can Ibuprofen (NSAIDs) Increase Risk Of Heart Attack?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are on just about every store shelf in America. Millions of people use them whenever they feel the slightest bit of discomfort. But even though these medications are seemingly everywhere, that doesn’t mean they don’t carry with them potentially major risks.

Why People Use NSAIDs

People turn to NSAIDs for a lot of different problems, some relatively minor and some that are chronic. Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and other NSAIDs can bring temporary relief of pain caused by issues such as toothaches, headaches, sore muscles, and backaches, but they can also help people suffering from issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and others.

Study Produces Shocking Results

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs like celecoxib and naproxen are generally safe – as long as you follow the directions for use, and only use them once in awhile. But if you use them on a regular basis, and at high doses, you could be setting yourself up for some major problems, according to a study that appeared in the May 9, 2017, issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

According to the study, people can be at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack after taking NSAIDs for just a few days. If you take 750 mg of naproxen (about four Aleve tablets) per day, or 1,200 mg (six Advil tablets) each day, you could face as much as a 20-50 percent higher risk.1

The study that appeared in the BMJ was substantial, consisting of analysis of several other studies that involved nearly 450,000 people – more than 61,000 of whom had suffered a heart attack.

The result showed that people who used NSAIDs for seven days straight had a substantially higher risk of suffering a heart attack, and the risk was even higher for those who took the medications for a month or more.

The BMJ study also took into account other factors that could result in a link between NSAID use and an increased risk of heart issues, such as a previous history of heart problems, high levels of cholesterol, and diabetes. Researchers adjusted their findings for these factors, and they still showed a substantial connection between NSAID use and heart attacks.

Previous Findings

This isn’t the first study conducted on the potential effects of NSAID use on heart health. Others have also shown a heightened risk. But the number of people involved in the BMJ study, along with the detailed analysis that was performed, goes a long way toward validating earlier findings.

In 2016, the BMJ published another study that focused on a specific class of NSAID medication known as COX-2 inhibitors, which are stronger than over-the-counter drugs such as Aleve or Advil. This study showed that people using COX-2 inhibitors such as rofecoxib and etoricoxib were at a 19 percent higher risk of suffering heart failure.2

Again, the higher the dosages of the drugs, the more significant the risk.

nsaids | Princeton Nutrients

FDA Warning

The growing body of evidence linking NSAID use to an increased risk of heart problems resulted in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing an updated consumer warning in 2015.3 The agency announced that it was strengthening its warning for both prescription and over-the-counter NSAIDs to include not only an increased risk of heart attack, but stroke as well. According to the FDA, people who use NSAIDs for even just a few weeks could be at a higher risk – the longer they take them, the higher the risk. However, the warning did not apply to aspirin, even though it’s in the NSAID class.3

Those who already have developed cardiovascular problems, such as people who have had cardiac bypass surgery or suffered a prior heart attack, are at the greatest risk, according to the FDA. The agency announced that people who have had a heart attack and take NSAIDs are at a higher risk of either having another attack, or of dying from a related cause.

What You Need to Do

According to the FDA, NSAIDs are still very effective in treating problems such as fever, inflammation, and pain. You can still take them, of course, but you need to make sure you follow the directions for use, take the smallest dose that is still effective, and take it for the shortest amount of time possible. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, it’s very important that you talk to your doctor first before using any kind of NSAID. Weigh your options carefully, taking into account the benefits as well as the potential risks. If you’re already taking aspirin as a part of your regular regimen of protecting yourself against a stroke or heart attack, naproxen, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs may counteract that protection.

NSAIDs are still an effective way to get temporary relief from pain, as long as you use them correctly. Taking NSAIDs in moderation and reducing risk factors such as smoking and high cholesterol will go a long way toward lowering the chances that you will have heart problems.

Want more helpful health tips? Keep reading:

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Sources:
1.http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1909
2.http://time.com/4512169/painkillers-ibuprofen-heart-problems/?iid=sr-link2
3.https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm453610.htm

Fatty Liver: What Is It? How Do You Get It? And How to Fix it.

As a whole, the United States is becoming more overweight. And as obesity increases across the country, more people are developing a fatty liver as a result. Researchers believe that liver fat, rather than belly fat, is the main indicator for a lot of different health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and others.1 While the bad news is a lot of us are storing far too much fat in our livers, the good news is that the condition can be reversed.

How the Liver is Supposed to Work

The liver is located just above the stomach, in the upper right hand portion of the abdominal cavity. It’s an incredibly important organ, performing somewhere around 500 functions that are critical to maintaining our overall health. Two of the more vital functions include processing the fat we take in through our diet as well as producing HDL, or “good” cholesterol. In addition, the liver produces bile, which is then stored in the gallbladder. Bile works by breaking down the fat we eat into tiny molecules so we can digest it.

These are just some of the other jobs the liver performs:

· Assisting in the clotting of blood
· Controlling our supply of amino acids
· Helping us process medications we take
· Eliminating toxins produced by those medications
· Producing substances that help the body fight infections
· Storing excess sugars

There are a lot of contributing factors to liver issues, including obesity, alcoholism, certain medications, excessive levels of triglycerides in the blood and several others

What is Fatty Liver?

The body stores most of its fat under the skin, which is also known as subcutaneous fat. Only about 10 percent of the fat in the body is belly fat, with the rest found in muscle tissue and organs such as the liver.

Most of us associate liver disease with drinking too much alcohol, but non-drinkers who are overweight are at a risk of developing liver problems as well. As many as 20 percent of people in the U.S. could potentially have an issue known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.2 While having fat in the liver isn’t particularly dangerous, if there’s an abnormal accumulation of fat, that can be a problem.

For example, too much fat in the liver can increase insulin resistance in the body, which can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance is dangerous because it affects the body’s ability to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is an essential substance that provides energy to our cells. If someone has insulin resistance, however, the cells aren’t able to absorb glucose. As a result, it stays in the blood and greatly increases the risk of diabetes.

Studies about Liver Fat

One study performed by nutrition researchers showed that liver fat is a more reliable indicator of metabolism problems – ones that can lead to diabetes – than belly fat. Researchers compared the amount of liver fat in a group of obese people and found that the ones who had greater concentrations were at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance.

They also found that people with fatty liver issues had lower levels of a protein known as CD36 in their fat tissue, and higher amounts of the protein in their muscle tissue. This is significant, because the researchers believe that CD36 moves fatty acids from fat tissue and into the tissues of the liver as well as muscles. These proteins are then converted to triglycerides, which are a form of fat. The more fatty acids that get into the tissue, the greater the chance for developing metabolic issues.3

Other Issues Associated With Fatty Liver

A fatty liver can also lead to a greater risk of heart problems. When there’s too much unprocessed fat in the liver, it can enter the bloodstream and clog arteries, increasing the chances of a stroke or a heart attack. An excess of fat can lead to several other health issues as well.

Fatty liver disease can also result in inflammation due to the accumulation of fat molecules inside the cells of the organ. This is a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that is even more dangerous, and it is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

This condition will typically develop gradually, over several years or even several decades. Some people with NASH might not ever develop symptoms, while others suffer serious problems. For example, NASH often results in fibrosis, a mild scarring of the liver that occurs when the organ tries to regenerate in response to the condition. When scarring becomes severe it becomes a condition known as cirrhosis, which is even more serious.

These are just a few of the symptoms associated with cirrhosis:

· Hardening of the liver
· Intestinal bleeding
· Liver cancer
· Liver failure
· Muscle loss
· Retention of body fluid

Who is at Risk for NASH

NASH will typically affect overweight and obese people age 40 and older, but there is conflicting evidence as to how often the condition turns into cirrhosis. Some studies show that only about 3 percent of people with NASH develop cirrhosis, while others show that up to 26 percent of patients develop the disease.4 Unfortunately, there’s no way that a doctor can predict whether or not NASH will eventually lead to cirrhosis. What is known, however, is that someone with NASH has a much better outlook than someone who develops steatohepatitis due to excessive consumption of alcohol, a condition known as alcoholic steatohepatitis.

The more serious threats posed by NASH could actually be stroke and heart disease rather than further liver damage. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article suggesting that inflammation associated with fatty liver could play a role in causing atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is a condition that often leads to the development of blood clots that can result in a stroke or heart attack.

The article referenced a study that showed people who have NASH are two times more likely to die from a stroke or heart attack than people who don’t have the condition. In addition, NASH may also make it riskier to be overweight. Obese people with NASH, according to the article, have higher levels of fibrinogen, which makes the blood more prone to clotting. They also have higher levels of C-reactive protein, which has been linked to inflammation.5

fatty liver | Princeton Nutrients

What Happens When the Liver Doesn’t Function Properly?

Ironically, NASH and other conditions associated with fatty liver disease can actually lead to weight loss. Other symptoms linked to liver problems include fatigue, abnormally colored bowel movements, nausea, abdominal pain and others.

If fatty liver develops into NASH, you might notice a sudden loss of appetite as well as vomiting and nausea. Other indications include yellowing of skin and eyes and severe pain in the upper abdominal area.

Diagnosing Fatty Liver Disease

Someone with a fatty liver will often times not show any symptoms, even if fatty liver disease turns into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or even NASH. They might sense a dull ache in the upper portion of the abdomen or feel fatigued, but that’s about it. In the majority of instances, fatty liver disease or NASH are discovered basically by accident during a blood test.

This test might show that a person has a higher liver enzyme levels than normal, which would then necessitate further testing. One method often used is an ultrasound image test, which is usually used to monitor the development of a fetus. When an ultrasound takes a picture of the liver, fatty liver disease shows up as bright white spots. A CT scan can also be used to take an image of the liver.

However, both ultrasound and CT scans have limitations when it comes to making a diagnosis of fatty liver problems or NASH. The reason is that while the fat will show up in the image, inflammation associated with NASH will not. There are other tests in development that use a combination of blood tests, liver enzyme readings, inflammation markers and certain hormones to help produce a reliable diagnosis, but these are all in the very early stages.

The only truly reliable method to diagnose fatty liver problems such as NASH is to take a biopsy of a portion of the organ. In a biopsy procedure, a surgeon will insert a long needle into the liver and extract a small piece. The doctor will then place the piece under a microscope for examination. As you would expect, a liver biopsy is considered an invasive surgical procedure, and as such comes with the risk of complications. But technology has progressed to the point to where a patient can go home the same day in most cases.

There are a lot of factors that will go into determining whether a doctor will recommend a biopsy to check for fatty liver or other problems. The most important ones are whether the person is showing signs of liver trouble, is obese or has diabetes.

What You Can Do About Fatty Liver

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of certain medications to treat fatty liver, most experts believe that weight loss is the best way to address this problem. Weight loss through increased exercise and changes in diet can result in a substantial reduction in the amount of fat in the liver. However, it’s very important that patients avoid any sort of crash dieting, because immediately losing weight can actually hurt the liver.6

Instead, follow a sensible plan to help reverse the damage that fatty liver can do. Whatever your strategy may be – either through exercise alone, a combination of physical activity and diet or surgery – it will be critical that you find the weight loss program that works best for you and stick with it.

Scientific studies show exactly how effective a weight loss program can be when it comes to reducing fatty liver. In one study, researchers found that obese people who consumed 500 fewer calories a day than normal lost an average of 8 percent body weight, leading to a substantial reduction in fat accumulation in the liver.7 According to the results of another study, it appears that reduction in both liver fat as well as insulin resistance can be sustained even if a person regains a portion of the weight he or she lost.

Dietary Fixes

Another way to reduce fatty liver is to reduce your intake of carbohydrates – specifically refined carbohydrates. According to research, only a small percentage of fat (16 percent) of liver fat in people who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease comes directly from their food. Almost 30 percent of that fat accumulates due to de novo lipogenesis (DNL), a process in which the body converts excess carbohydrates into fat. 8 The more high-fructose beverages and foods you consume, the higher the rate at which DNL occurs. 9

Research also shows that people who consume a “Mediterranean diet” (which is primarily high in plant-based foods, nuts, whole grains and “good” fats such as those found in canola and olive oil) tend to lose more liver fat than those who follow a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats.10

fatty liver | Princeton Nutrients

See Your Doctor

Whether or not you have a reason to believe you have a fatty liver, you should see your doctor on a regular basis for a checkup. Periodic blood tests can give you an indication that you might have an issue that needs to be further explored. But even if you’re diagnosed with fatty liver disease or even NASH, just remember that your prognosis should be good if you follow a sensible, safe diet plan.

For more tips on having a healthy, well-balanced life, keep reading here:

Boswellia Serrata Extract – Reduce Pain with Tree Sap?

The Healing Power of Turmeric (+ 2 recipes to get more in your diet!)

Sources:
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19706383
2.http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/when-the-liver-gets-fatty
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19706383
4.http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/when-the-liver-gets-fatty
5.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/590d/7084f2176d449028452649ff4300387b3441.pdf
6.http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/when-the-liver-gets-fatty
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23273500
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15864352
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027077
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23485520

Why You Should Start Lifting Weights (plus, beginner safety tips)

Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the weights so hard that you wind up looking like a muscle-bound bodybuilder. Even working light dumbbells can provide major health benefits. Yes, you’ll build up your muscles, but the main purpose of strength training is to help your overall well-being for the long term.

How Important is Strength Training?

Whether you call it resistance training or strength training, it’s one of the best things that you can do for your body. As we get older, we lose bone tissue at a faster rate than we produce it. This is especially the case among people who live a mainly sedentary lifestyle. The loss of bone mass or density not only leads to issues with posture, but also general weakness.

Strength training helps to offset your loss of bone through what is known as “bone remodeling.” It helps develop cells known as osteoblasts, which help rebuild bone. Many people perform aerobic exercises to stay fit. While these are good for your overall health, and can also help stimulate the production of osteoblasts in the lower body, weightlifting is the recommended method to help ensure that the bones throughout the body remain healthy and strong.1

What Does the Research Say?

There is solid scientific evidence that increasing your muscle mass by lifting weights can do much more than improve your physique – this form of exercise can also deliver critically important health benefits. Here are just a few of them:

· Control Insulin – According to a study published in the medical journal Diabetes Care, lifting weights on a regular basis can increase sensitivity to insulin in people who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes as well as diabetes. It showed that performing a strength training regimen two times a week could help control insulin swings.2

· Inflammation – We need a certain amount of inflammation to warn us that we’ve suffered some sort of injury or are developing an illness, but too much can lead to a lot of different problems, including heart disease. One study showed that regular strength training can help increase the production of cytokines – proteins which can help to quell an overabundance of inflammation.3

· Fat loss – You may think that aerobic exercise and dieting are the only ways to shed pounds and keep them off, but you might want to think again. Researchers at Penn State conducted a study consisting of three groups of people who were on a diet. One group didn’t perform any exercise, the second only did aerobic exercise, and the third combined aerobics with strength training. At the end of the study, the researchers found that all the participants had lost an average of 21 pounds, but the group that combined aerobics with strength training lost six more pounds of fat than the others. According to the results, the participants who were lifting weight were shedding mainly fat – while the others were losing fat and muscle.4

· Heart healthThe Journal of Applied Physiology published a study showing that resistance training not only increases muscular strength, it also lowers blood pressure when resting. The researchers concluded that strength training could be used as a medical intervention method to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.5

Other Reasons to Consider Strength Training

Strength training is one of the most effective things we can do to help ensure our muscles stay strong and we have the best chance of staying healthy as we get older. These are just a few of the other benefits that have been linked to lifting weights on a regular basis:

· Increasing bone strength – Hip fractures are a serious matter at any age, but they can prove deadly to older people. Additionally, bone loss can lead to not only rounded shoulders but also the possibility of developing a hump. One study found that men who followed a strength training regimen for four months not only increased the density of their hip bones by nearly 4 percent, they also raised their levels of osteocalcin – an indicator of bone growth – by almost 20 percent.6

· Increasing flexibility – You could lose 50 percent or more of your flexibility by the age of 70 – and it’s possible that by the age of 30, most of us become 20 percent less flexible. This can ultimately wreak havoc on your joints. But strength training may help fix this problem. The International Journal of Sports Medicine published a study that showed that a four-month resistance training regimen could increase shoulder and hip flexibility by more than 30 percent. Participants in the study showed an 11 percent flexibility increase during a sit-and-reach exercise – a common test to measure flexibility in the lower back, hips, and hamstrings.7

· Regulating insulin levels from carbohydrates – If you tend to take in a lot of carbohydrates such as rice, white bread, and potatoes, you might not realize that your level of insulin (which helps regulate the amount of sugar in the blood) rises substantially as a result. This can be a major problem, because when your insulin numbers are elevated on a regular basis, your risk of heart disease and diabetes goes up. Researchers studying insulin levels and exercise analyzed two groups of men. One followed only an aerobic exercise program, while the other worked out with weights two times a week in addition to following an aerobic regimen. They found that the insulin levels of men who combined strength training and aerobics were 25 percent lower after eating a carb-rich meal than the men who only did aerobics.8

· Increasing your metabolism – Researchers conducted a study and found that men who followed a strength training regimen for six months saw their resting metabolism rate increase by 7 percent. According to the researchers, strength training tends to have a more pronounced effect on metabolism in men than women.9

lifting weights | Princeton Nutrients

· Benefits for older adults – Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Carroll University found “overwhelming” evidence that strength training can benefit older people. It not only increases power, strength, and muscle mass, it also helps make performing daily, routine tasks much easier. In addition, according to the researchers, older adults who lift weights are more likely to participate in other types of spontaneous exercise. They suggest that older people train two days a week, on average.10

Safety Tips for Starting a Strength Training Regimen

If, after learning more about the potential benefits of resistance training, you’re inspired to begin your own strength training program, that’s great. You’ll enjoy the benefits of a slimmer appearance, but more importantly, you’ll enjoy significantly improved health as a result. Keep in mind, though, you shouldn’t immediately head over to your nearest gym and start pumping iron. If you don’t have a careful plan, you could seriously hurt yourself.

The first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor, to make sure this type of regimen will be right for you. If you get the go ahead, your next conversation should be with a trainer at a gymnasium. He or she will help you determine the best way to get started.

Quality not Quantity

At the beginning of your program, focus on technique. It’s understandable if you want to get through the workout as quickly as possible, but if your form isn’t sound, you could be setting yourself up for a major injury. No matter what type of exercises you’re doing to build your muscles, listen closely to your instructor and follow his or her directions to the letter. Start with basic moves, and then expand your horizons.

It might also be tempting to ditch your new workout routine if you feel sore, or if you don’t see results after a few weeks. Just remember that the more you stick to a regular routine of lifting weights, the more coordinated and stable you’ll feel. Eventually, you’ll get more and more comfortable as your routine begins to feel more natural.

Take it Easy!

Remember to take a few days off, and not to try to hit the weights like a maniac every day. That might work if you’re trying to make it in the NFL, but that’s about it. If you don’t give yourself a break every once in awhile, you won’t be giving your body time to make the changes it needs for you to enjoy the benefits to not only your health, but also your appearance.

And finally, don’t think you can keep piling on the junk food just because you’re embarking on a strength training regimen. You might be making great progress in the gym, but that won’t mean anything if you’re not eating healthy. Make sure you get enough protein in your diet to support your increased muscles, but don’t forget to include carbs for energy as well as healthy fats. A good training regimen is nothing if you don’t support it with a sensible nutrition plan.

For more health news you can use, keep reading:

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3 Detox Drink Recipes (that actually taste delicious!)

Sources:
1.http://time.com/4803697/bodybuilding-strength-training/?cid=2017012&XID=time-health-hub
2.http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/8/1353
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933442/
4.http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/12/02/what-best-for-weight-loss-cardio-or-strength-training.html
5.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/de44/40ee59d7777afa4b682e865183e1069a8945.pdf
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8335581
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11842358

8.https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/61/5/480/630015/Effects-of-Aerobic-and-Resistive-Exercise-Training
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15107011
10.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8598201_Effects_of_Resistance_Training_on_Older_Adults