Medical authorities recommend aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Even if you have no history of heart attacks or heart disease.
Taking one for a headache once in a while isn’t a big deal. But aspirin is a drug. And chronic, long-term use of any drug — including aspirin — can have serious consequences for your health.
Especially when recent studies are showing that a daily aspirin regimen doesn’t help prevent heart attacks or stroke at all.
No Benefits from Aspirin Overuse
In 2018, three major clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine found few benefits and consistent digestive-tract bleeding risks associated with daily aspirin use for people at low and moderate risk of a heart attack.1,2,3
For those ages 70 and over, the rate of death from any cause was actually higher in those who used aspirin daily.
But clearly the word hasn’t gotten out.
According to a brand-new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, no fewer than 29 million American adults age 40 and older still take an aspirin a day — despite having no known heart disease.4
About 6.6 million of them do so on their own — without a doctor recommending it.
And nearly half of people over age 70 with no heart disease — about 10 million — take daily aspirin for prevention.
Heart-Healthy Alternatives to Aspirin
When my patients ask me about taking aspirin — and it’s one of the most common questions I’m asked — I tell them about safer, more natural ways they can begin boosting their heart health.
- Lower homocysteine with B vitamins. Homocysteine, a naturally produced amino acid, is a strong predictor of heart disease and stroke. If you don’t know your homocysteine level, have it checked with a simple blood test. A level above 10.4 mM/L is abnormally high; a level of below 7 is good. You can easily lower homocysteine with a daily B vitamin supplement. I recommend vitamin B6 (75 mg), vitamin B12 (400 mcg) and folic acid (800 mcg).
- Add “nature’s aspirin.” Meadowsweet is a plant-based anti-inflammatory that works to quell inflammation, the leading cause of heart disease and other chronic diseases. In fact, aspirin was created by studying salicylates and other compounds naturally contained in meadowsweet. I like to prepare a meadowsweet tea using 4 g to 6 g of the dried herb, taken 3 times daily.
- Supplement with heart-healthy CoQ10. Organ meats, wild-caught fatty fish and grass-finished beef, chicken and pork contain the most CoQ10. It’s difficult to obtain optimal levels of CoQ10 from food alone, so I recommend taking a supplement. Make sure it contains PPQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone), which triggers your body to increase the number of mitochondria in your cells, as well as the ubiquinol form of CoQ10, which is eight times more powerful than the ubiquinone form. Take 30 mg a day for healthy adults over 30, and 60 mg a day for those over 60.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. McNeil JJ, et al. “Effect of aspirin on disability-free survival in the healthy elderly.” N Engl J Med. 2018;379:1499-1508.
2. McNeil JJ, et al. “Effect of aspirin on all-cause mortality in the healthy elderly.” N Engl J Med. 2018;379:1519-1528.
3. McNeil JJ, et al. “Effect of aspirin on cardiovascular events and bleeding in the healthy elderly.” N Engl J Med. 2018;379:1509-1518.
4. O’Brien CW, et al. “Prevalence of aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey.” Ann Intern Med. 2019 Jul 23.