If I asked you to name one of the most benign, safe over-the-counter type drugs, most of you would name one of the anti-inflammatory NSAID drugs like ibuprofen. Many people use these drugs weekly for minor aches and managing chronic pain. And of course, since we don’t need a prescription, we figure they’re harmless. Right?
But aside from the fact that taking too many can cause an ulcer, these drugs are not quite as harmless as we would believe.
What we are just learning now is that ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can be a contributing factor to gluten sensitivity. And even if you are one of the very few who are not gluten sensitive, taking these drugs could lead to these gut issues down the road.
You may have gluten sensitivity and not be aware of it. As I detail in my Baby Steps Guide to Going Gluten Free, Dr. Alessio Fassano states: “Gluten sensitivity affects six to seven times more people than celiac disease.” According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, as many as 18 million Americans may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
So if you use these drugs regularly, you need to be aware of this potential danger. I’ve said many times before that when you have a headache or backache it is not an indication of an Advil, Aleve or Motrin deficiency! These drugs essentially mask the problem. They don’t address the root cause. The bottom line is that anyone regularly using these drugs will experience an increase in intestinal permeability – leaky gut.
In case you aren’t sure why you should care about whether you have leaky gut, let me explain a bit. The cells that line your intestines allow nutrients in and out. There are very small spaces between them. It creates a very effective filter. This allows nutrients to be absorbed and provides protection. So picture a very fine mesh strainer or the screens on your windows with tiny, uniform openings that let air in and keep bugs out.
Zonulin, an intestinal molecule that is increased by the gliadin in wheat, causes those spaces to widen allowing larger molecules to get into the bloodstream. This can cause inflammation and other problems. I explain in much more detail in my Baby Steps Guide to Going Gluten Free.
For me the bottom line is that these over-the-counter drugs are definitely not harmless and even worse, all they do is mask and manage pain without ever addressing the cause of the pain, leading to overuse over time.
Recent research shows how impactful your gut is to every aspect of your overall health – brain health, skin, digestive, joints, heart! So why take something for relief in the moment that may cause bigger problems down the line?
Do you use NSAID drugs regularly or often? Have you noticed an increase in symptoms you may not have attributed to them?
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