Should you use aspirin therapy to prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease and breast cancer?

Most of your life, you’ve used aspirin to minimize everyday ailments…

To fend off a splitting headache. To ease aching joints. To make a bad back bearable.

But word on the street is, it has much grander talents than that.

Sure, it’s great for getting you through a hangover, period cramps or a sprained ankle. But research shows that aspirin also has preventative powers against big diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

In fact, low-dose aspirin has been the heart attack prevention approach du jour for decades now. And recent research shows it could have similar preventative benefits against Alzheimer’s and cancer. The latest proof?

A new study shows that taking aspirin could help women survive breast cancer. But there’s a catch… it only works for certain women.

Aspirin offers breast cancer protection to these women

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently discovered that some women may live longer if they take aspirin before a breast cancer diagnosis.

In the study, researchers tracked the health of 1,266 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1996 and 1997. And women who took a dose at least once per week for six weeks before they were diagnosed had a 22 to 40 percent lower risk of dying from breast cancer… but only if they had an “unmethylated tumor promoter of BRCA1 and progesterone receptor (PR) genes.”

What does all that jargon mean?

Methylation is a process that switches some genes on and others off. It creates shifts in your DNA related to cell death, damage and repair, which is why it can contribute to the development of cancer. BRCA1 is a tumor suppressor gene tied to breast cancer. Progesterone receptor (PR) genes respond to the hormone progesterone, a hormone that contributes to some types of breast cancer.

In this study, women with BRCA1 and progesterone suppressor genes that haven’t been affected by the process of methylation responded positively to aspirin taken before they were diagnosed with cancer. What about women whose genes had gone through methylation?

They were a different story, unfortunately. If they took it at least once per week for six weeks before their breast cancer diagnosis, it triggered a 67 percent spike in their risk of dying from any cause.

So, clearly, preventative aspirin isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for breast cancer.

Stay away from preventative aspirin… for now

Despite the promise of preventative aspirin, the risks still seem to outweigh the benefits. In fact, after years of encouraging people to take low-dose aspirin to prevent a heart attack, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recently changed their tune because new studies show its side effects may be stronger than its preventative powers.

But never fear…

There are plenty of ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. In fact, anything that reduces inflammation will likely have a similar effect on your disease risk, because that’s exactly why aspirin works.

So how do you reduce inflammation and disease risk right now?

Start with an anti-inflammatory diet, like the Mediterranean diet. Exercise has an anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting effect too. In fact, a 2017 study found that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day stimulates your immune system and triggers an anti-inflammatory response in your cells. So, go Mediterranean and get moving!

Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!

Sources:

  1. Aspirin may interact with cells’ DNA modifications to alter breast cancer outcomes — MedicalXpress
  2. Prediagnosis aspirin use, DNA methylation, and mortality after breast cancer: A population‐based studyCancer
  3. Avoid daily aspirin unless your doctor prescribes it, new guidelines advise — American Heart Association
  4. Aspirin may help some breast cancer survivors, but changes in DNA may mean harm for others — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.