Aspirin, the simple white headache reliever you buy over the counter at the pharmacy, has more health benefits than you may think. As it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is has many advantages, but research is underway to discover the potential aspirin has as a cancer preventer. Taking aspirin as a preventative measure for a disease is not right for everyone. Each person’s tolerance for such a drug will differ. Therefore, it is important to talk with your health care professional in regards to taking aspirin for more than an average headache. However, it is good to know what it can do, which is why we’ve compiled this list.
1. Good for the brain
The most common use of aspirin is for a headache. It works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandin by first inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme, which is a scientific way of saying that it relieves the pain caused by inflammation in the brain. But what has recently been discovered is that taking aspirin can be beneficial to memory and cognitive function. Tests spanning five years have shown an increase in memory scores in people taking aspirin the whole time, plus it cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 55%, by breaking down the proteins that cause plaques in the area of the brain reserved for memories.
2. Reduce heart attack or stroke
For many years, physicians and doctors have been prescribing the taking of aspirin to those who are at a high risk of having a heart attack or a stroke; men and women over the age of 50. Most heart attacks and strokes happen when the supply of blood to a particular area of the heart, or brain, have been cut off. The obstruction in the artery can be a blockage, bubble or build up of substances formed within the body. The purpose of aspirin is to thin the blood and make it easier to flow through the arteries, reducing the risk of blockages and therefore, heart attack or stroke.
3. Breast cancer
There have been many studies undertaken in regards to the effect taking regular aspirin has on the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. Test using mice showed that it shrank the cancer cells and slowed the spreading of the tumor. As far as testing on humans goes, they have been done, and one particular test found that for some women, taking a low dose of aspirin daily, cut the risk of breast cancer by around 30%. Low dose is the key here; aspirin is not something you want to be taking large amounts of on a regular basis as is can have serious, detrimental, reoccurring effects on your health.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. The number of cases of skin cancer in the USA has increased in recent years. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. It has been found in a test, which lasted over 12 years, that women who take aspirin regularly, may be able to decrease the risk of melanoma on the skin. In these tests, the aspirin activated tumor suppressant genes and promoted cell death. The longer aspirin was used, the lower the risk. It is not recommended that everyone go out and start taking aspirin and lay in the sun on a hot day, as it depends on many other factors such as genetics, skin and sun behaviors.
5. Head and neck cancers
Cancers that are known in the head and neck region usually begin in the squamous cells. The squamous cells line the mucosal surfaces inside the mouth, throat, and nose. Cancer forms here mainly due to excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Studies have been conducted where aspirin was associated with 25% of cases of a reduction in head and neck cancers and therefore a potential chemopreventive agent for those suffering from head and neck cancer.