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NSAIDS silently wreak havoc on your small intestine

Monday, May 13, 2013 by: Anita Khalek
Tags: NSAIDs, small intestine, side effects

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(NaturalNews) The usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) is as accepted today as having a cup of morning coffee. In the United States alone, more than 30 billion doses of NSAIDS, including over-the-counter options, are consumed every year. A couple of recent studies in the World Journal of Gastroenterology and the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition detail the damage these NSAIDS cause to the mucosal lining of the small intestine.

NSAIDS lead to enteropathy

NSAIDS like aspirin, naproxen and many others are common drugs prescribed for today's lifestyle ailments including inflammation and arthritis. Their commonly known drug toxicity is damage to gastroduodenal mucosa, which leads to stomach ulcers and erosions. With the advent of capsule endoscopy and balloon enteroscopy, gastroenterologists today are able to detect small intestine problems that are associated with NSAIDS users. Recent figures indicate that close to two-thirds of NSAID users suffer from small intestine enteropathy. These conditions begin very subtly and undetected yet could be the root cause of a plethora of small bowel diseases such as IBS, Leaky Gut, and others. The ulcers, erosions and holes, which develop in the mucosal lining of the small intestine, lead to increased intestinal permeability. Intestinal permeability is typically aggravated by and not limited to toxins, poor diet, and parasites. More usage of the NSAIDS and other medications continues to wreak havoc and cause further damage to the mucosal wall barrier.

Role of the intestinal mucosa

The mucosal lining of the small intestine consists of wrinkles and folds made up of villi and microvilli where the majority of nutrient absorption takes place. These are tiny finger-like protrusions which absorb and transport the micro-nutrients into the bloodstream. Intestinal permeability is a direct result of a damaged mucosal wall, in which partially undigested food particles are able to traverse through the damaged intestinal wall into the bloodstream causing an immune reaction. The latter becomes a cyclical issue and over time develops into an autoimmune persistent problem such as food allergies and autoimmune disease.

Diagnosis and treatment

Researchers in the study from the World Journal of Gastroenterology were able to detect NSAID-induced enteropathy with three methods: Intestinal Permeability Test, Measurement of Intestinal Inflammation and Endoscopy. It is important to note than up to 70 percent of NSAID-induced enteropathy is subclinical, exhibiting non-specific, seemingly unrelated symptoms. Issues ranging from nutrient deficiency to acute abdominal pain, neck and shoulder muscular pains and skin disorders are all indicators of small bowel mucosal damage. The study notes that the surest way in preventing the continued damage caused by the NSAIDS is to stop using the drugs. Alternatively, it is suggested that nutritional intervention can assist in healing the damaged lining. Supplements such as glutamine, fish protein hydrolate and human Lactoferrin have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant healing effects on the gut.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may have their role in reducing inflammation and assisting in pain management, however, they are the culprit of disorders of the digestive tract mucosal membrane. The damage caused is not limited to their well-known stomach ulcers and gastric complications, but extends to the small intestine with a negative domino-effect on the rest of body.

Sources for this article include:






About the author:
Anita is a researcher, a writer and a passionate believer in the healing power of food. Using her culinary skills and amateur photography, she regularly creates new recipes and shares her techniques on her food blog at www.myfreshlevant.com.
Questions and suggestions can be directed to [email protected]

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