Reoccurring pain is something many of us deal with on a regular basis. Whether it’s headaches, toothaches or joint and muscle pain, almost everybody experiences some sort of reoccurring pain. This pain can range from a mild nuisance to sometimes debilitating, and as a result of this many people have taken to regularly consuming over the counter painkillers such as Tylenol.
Although these painkillers may help relieve pain, they can cause extensive damage to many organs in the body, namely, the liver.
Tylenol’s Effect on the Liver
Many people are aware of the effects that Tylenol has on the body. It has been known to cause nausea, stomach pain, dark urine and jaundice. Although some of these symptoms are related to liver damage, most people don’t know that Tylenol has actually been shown to cause liver damage in almost half of people who take it.
One study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that taking Tylenol for just fourteen days could put you at risk of serious liver damage.
Researchers were originally studying the effect that taking a narcotic drug (hydrocodone) in combination with Tylenol had on liver toxicity levels in the body. However, they were surprised to find that, after two weeks, a control group of participants taking only Tylenol had almost the exact same levels of liver toxicity as the group taking both Tylenol and the narcotic.
Scientists tested participant’s liver toxicity by measuring how much alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was found in the liver. ALT is an enzyme that increases its presence in the liver when it is damaged. They found that both the Tylenol and narcotic and the Tylenol only group had between 31%-44% ALT measurements in the liver.
This study showed researchers that it was in fact Tylenol and not the narcotic opiate that was causing the liver damage in people who took both.
Now that you know about the danger that painkillers such as Tylenol pose to your body’s organs, here are some natural alternatives that you can use to reduce pain without having to worry about your liver’s health.
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Turmeric is know for having incredibly effective anti-inflammatory properties. Luckily, many sources of joint and muscle pain are caused by inflammation, making turmeric a great remedy for this type of pain. Turmeric is also widely recommended to treat arthritic pain, meaning it should be effective for chronic as well as reoccurring pain.
Capsicum is a a plant that comes from peppers and is commonly used to treat lower back pain when applied topically in a cream. Taking capsicum supplements orally has also been known to help reduce nausea and stomach pain.
Feverfew is a plant that was used in Ancient Greece to treat a variety of common illnesses and ailments. A 2011 study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Review found that migraine sufferers who took feverfew for six months experienced fewer and less severe headaches.
Peppermint has also been found to be effective at treating headache pain, as well as nausea. This is due to the active ingredient found in it called menthol. A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that participants who had menthol topically applied to their forehead completely stopped migraine pain and also helped to reduce nausea.
How to Protect Your Liver
Aside from making sure to avoid liver-damaging drugs such as Tylenol, other ways to protect your liver include:
- Avoid alcohol. Too much alcohol can damage liver cells and cause cirrhosis, otherwise known as scarring of the liver
- Eat healthy and exercise. Being overweight can greatly increase your risk of liver damage it can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is another condition that leads to cirrhosis
- Stay away from toxins. Avoid commercial cleaning products, aerosol products, pesticides, and cigarettes as these are all chemicals that can cause serious damage to your liver
If you follow the three steps I mentioned above and make sure to stay away from over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol, you can ensure that you will have a healthy and well-functioning liver. For more painkiller alternatives, click here.
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