Due to new regulations that allow prescription drug manufacturers to commercially advertise, we are all too familiar with the long list of side-effects and warnings that accompany these advertisements. Even over-the-counter medications are cause for concern with long-term use. Choosing an effective pain reliever can feel like an exercise in choosing the lesser of two evils.
NSAIDs, both prescription and over-the-counter, are typical treatments for pain. While they may be effective in reducing pain and even inflammation in the affected area, NSAIDs have the potential to cause reactions in other areas of the body as they are not targeted solutions. They affect the function of the entire body, not just at the site of pain and inflammation. Long-term use may cause damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the most common side-effect. Organs of the GI tract that are vulnerable to NSAID use are the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
More than 50% of all bleeding ulcers are caused by NSAIDs, according to gastroenterologist Byron Cryer, MD, a spokesperson for the American Gastroenterological Association.
"Gastrointestinal bleeding is a serious issue," says Cryer.
"But we've seen in many surveys that people really underestimate this risk."
While many ulcers caused by NSAIDs will heal with cessation of drug use, patients are still in need of pain relief.
In an effort to reduce gastrointestinal complications, researchers developed Cox-2 inhibitors like Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra. While no more powerful than standard NSAIDs, they are much less likely to cause gastrointestinal problems. Further study revealed, however, that use of Cox-2 inhibitors did increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The increased risk associated with Bextra and Vioxx were considered significant enough to remove them from the market. Celebrex, while still available, now bears a strong FDA warning about the risks of heart attack and stroke.
When used long-term for chronic conditions, even over-the-counter NSAIDs increase the risk for heart-related complications. Except for aspirin, all over-the-counter NSAIDs are required to include a warning about the risks of heart attack and stroke along with other side effects. These include high blood pressure, kidney damage, severe allergic reactions, and skin reactions.
These side-effects, many of them dangerous, are due to NSAIDs’ inability to target only the unproductive or damaging inflammation. Certain systems of the body require healthy or productive inflammation for proper functioning. These include the kidney, liver, and intestines. This leaves the patient in quite a predicament – live with pain or live with the risks involved with NSAID use.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy is a safe and powerful option in the management of pain and inflammation. In our youth, we unknowingly enjoyed the benefits of the regulatory process of systemic enzymes, but as we age, our enzyme supply begins to decline. Our body’s natural enzymes do have the ability to target the unproductive inflammation, and ensuing pain, while protecting the health of unaffected areas that require a certain amount of productive inflammation. Systemic enzymes, also known as proteolytic enzymes, literally “eat away” the inflammation and fibrosis caused by circulating damaging proteins. By attacking the root cause of the pain – the inflammation and excess fibrin – relief is found but without dangerous side-effects. Systemic enzymes are natural, free of contaminants and side-effects, and pose no risk of toxicity.
Systemic enzymes also offer whole body support. While they are busy targeting specific areas of acute pain and inflammation, the same proteolytic activity is directed towards other areas of the body that may experience improvement from its action. Benefits of Systemic Enzyme Therapy include cleansing the blood to improve flow and volume, modulating the immune response, decreasing excess fibrin and scar tissue build-up, and strengthening the body’s natural virus-fighting ability.
NSAID use is contraindicated for many people due to other medical conditions or medications they may be taking. Contraindicated medical conditions include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Bleeding/platelet disorders
- Fluid retention
- Kidney disease
- Aspirin allergy
Natural and safe systemic enzymes are suitable and beneficial for most people. Because of their ability to effectively cleanse the blood, hemophiliacs or those patients taking prescription blood thinners are advised not to use systemic enzymes. Aside from this one exception, all other patients can confidently employ Systemic Enzyme Therapy to combat a variety of conditions including pain, inflammation, fibrosis, “sticky” blood, and immune system dysfunction.
Preserving and delivering optimum enzyme activity is paramount to the success of Systemic Enzyme Therapy. Key components to look for are enteric coating and a liquid-filled gel capsule.
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