Aspirin is the most widely used drug to combat heart disease. Yet, aspirin doesn’t lower cholesterol. It doesn’t lower blood pressure. It doesn’t lower high blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes and it doesn’t reduce excess body fat. But it seems to work, or many people and their doctors think that it does.
I have always been opposed to aspirin, as any drug, but continuous study dilutes some of my hard conviction against aspirin. We should let our body decide when we have marginal conviction. It is possible that in some instances pharmacology can work with what Robert Atkins called complementary medicine.
No doctor knows how we feel better than we do. If our body tells us that we are better or worse, we need to listen. Sickness or wellness is always a case of biochemical individuality. This is to say “what’s one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Simply stated, we have to find what works for us.
Enter good and bad eicosanoids (pronounced eye-kah-sah-noids). You have probably never heard of them. I know that you have never seen them. Eicosanoids are like master hormones that are totally controlled by diet. They are both good and bad. We should strive to over-balance the bad with the good, and try to keep them in balance.
Aspirin works its wonders by affecting eicosanoids.
Eicosanoids “are a gang of at least 100 powerful hormone-like substances that control virtually all physiological actions in your body.” (Protein Power by Michael R. Eades, M.D.)
According to your biochemical individuality, bad eicosanoids can cause many dangerous health conditions including heart disease and cancer. And guess what, eicosanoids can be balanced only with diet—no drugs, please.
Any food or drug that increases insulin levels increases bad eicosanoid production. So, bad eicosanoid production overwhelms any relief of symptoms experienced by so-called drug therapy.
Food and bad eicosanoids? Yes, the American high-carbohydrate diet causes a dominance of bad eicosanoids followed by diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease and any other disease known to man.
On the contrary, good eicosanoid balance promotes vasodilatation, so that instead of narrowing blood vessels, blood vessels actually widen, blood pressure goes down and so does the risk of heart disease.
So it appears strongly that we should get on low-carbohydrate diet to reduce insulin resistance and heart disease. But there seems to be one thing critically missing, and that is to make sure that our eicosanoids are balanced in favor of the good. If the over-production of bad eicosanoids is reduced, then the likelihood of having a heart attack is greatly reduced.
Remember above that we talked about biochemical individuality. This simply means that everybody is different and “what’s one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Some people are genetically predisposed to a high insulin response to carbohydrates, and in these same people, disturbance of normal eicosanoid balance is the primary molecular cause of heart disease. So a low-carbohydrate diet may not totally protect against a bad eicosanoid balance.
What’s all this got to do with aspirin? Aspirin is a potent inhibitor of eiconsanoid synthesis. Aspirin works against bad eiconsanoids and in fact, aspirin’s only effect is on eiconsanoids.
Aspirin reduces the production of bad eicosanoids that prompt platelet aggregation such as thromboxane A2. It also works against good eiconsanoids, but on balance it may give an edge in favor of preventing heart attacks.
If one has all the threats of heart attack like abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, shortness of breath or even angina, I would ask my doctor about taking a baby aspirin a day. Most heart doctors will say yes, and we agree. But in truth, the best remedy for our overall health is diet. Diet is our best medicine.