An Asprin a Day?

Another popular myth has been busted!

I’m sure that you have heard this one before. Many doctors advise their patients to take a baby aspirin every day to reduce their risk of heart attack. And this recommendation has been repeated so often in the media and in self-help books and web sites that even more people are taking an aspirin every day without even waiting for their doctor to recommend it.

Is this good advice?

Probably not, accordingly to a new study done by Dr. Gerry Fowlkes of the Wolfson Unit for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Edinburgh Scotland. In a study that he presented at the most recent meeting of the European Society for Cardiology in Barcelona Spain he and his colleagues followed 3,000 men at very high risk for developing heart disease for an average of eight years.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to take an aspirin every day and the other half was given a placebo. At the end of eight years there was no difference in the rate of heart attacks or stroke - or risk of death from any cause - between the two groups. In other words, an aspirin a day did not decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke and had no discernable health benefits in this study.

Even worse, there were 34 major bleeds in people taking the aspirin compared to only 20 in people taking the placebo. And if you looked at internal bleeding that was so serious that it required hospitalization, the risk was almost double for the aspirin users compared to the placebo users. The conclusion of this study was that for otherwise healthy people the risks of taking aspirin outweigh the benefits.

The scientists cautioned that for people who have already had a heart attack the benefits of taking an aspirin a day might outweigh the risks. But I would encourage you to investigate natural alternates rather than relying on a drug to reduce your risk of heart disease.

For example several recent clinical studies have shown that as little as 500 mg/day of omega 3 fatty acids, whether from fish or from supplements, can reduce the risk of a second heart attack in someone who has already had one heart attack by 30-40%.

And, of course, the Landmark study showed that people who have used the Shaklee supplements for 20 years or more have 1/3 the incidence of angina, heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure as do people using other company’s multivitamins or no supplements at all.

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