Take This Drug Once a Day

6 Reasons to Take This Over-the-Counter Drug

Aspirin For Leanness and Longevity

It's probably the world's oldest drug and the one you'd want to take with you if you were stranded on a desert island. Here are six reasons why it's such a versatile and appealing drug:

Salicylate, one of the important active metabolites in aspirin, increases the activity of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays a huge role in regulating cellular growth and metabolism. In other words, aspirin promotes fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism via AMPK regulation (at least in mice).

This is a mechanism shared by the diabetes drug metformin and the fat-burning/muscle building supplement C3G (Indigo-3G®). It may also help explain why the aspirin/ephedrine/caffeine triad was such a potent fat-burning cocktail back in the 90's (before ephedrine was banned for use in anything but stuffed-up noses).

Science has managed to patch up the Ozone layer a bit, but ultra violet rays are still assaulting our DNA and causing squamous cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis (a pre-cancerous skin condition). Use all the sunscreen you want, but unless you zinc oxide yourself up so you look like the fourth member of the Blue Man Group, your skin-cell DNA is slowly being fricasseed by sunshine.

Plain old aspirin might be able to help, though. Sun-baked Australians, who take things like skin cancer personally, have found that people who used aspirin at least twice a week for five years saw their risk of skin cancer reduced by 60%, while those that had used it daily for at least 5 years saw a reduction of 90%. These benefits allegedly start to show up after as little as one year of use.

Furthermore, another study published in the journal Cancer, found that 60,000 Caucasian women who had taken aspirin at least a couple of times a week were 20% less likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Everybody knows this one by now as it's been part of aspirin lore since the late 1940's, but it's still worth mentioning. And, if we need any more proof, a 2003 meta analysis of more than 55,000 men and women showed that aspirin use was associated with a 32% reduction in risk of heart attack and a 15% reduction in all major vascular events.

The main problem in aging isn't what we commonly associate with free radicals, but free radical "leakage" in the cellular organelles known as mitochondria.

If there's too much free radical leakage when mitochondria produce energy (ATP), the mitochondria off themselves. If too many mitochondria off themselves, the cell dies. If too many cells die, the organ dies. Too much organ dysfunction and the body dies. Spring comes. A new season of Dancing With the Stars begins.

You need to somehow speed up electron flow in mitochondria, which lessens free radical leakage. In other words, you need to "uncouple" the respiratory chain. When electron flow is disassociated from ATP production, respiration then dissipates as heat.

Drugs like ecstasy and the bug killer/diet drug DNP uncouple the respiratory chain, but not without problematical side effects. It turns out that aspirin does it, too, but unfortunately not as well as the aforementioned drugs. Still, it seems that aspirin might be a valuable longevity drug.

If you devote enough time to studying medical data, you'll start to see that inflammation might well be the cause of most of the diseases that plague mammalian life. Asthma, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune dysfunction, eczema, several type of cancer, you name it, can all be tied to the wrong kind of inflammation.

Aspirin, however, reduces excess inflammation. Aspirin, like the plant-compound curcumin, disables COX enzymes so that pro-inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins and thromboxanes can't be formed. In doing so, aspirin decreases inflammation, fever, pain, blood clotting, and more importantly, might thwart the development of many inflammatory diseases.

For some reason that's yet unclear, rates of colorectal cancer have risen dramatically in younger adults. This increase is being seen in particular in Gen X'ers and millennials.

"People born in 1990 now have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950," explained Rebecca Siegel, MPH, of the American Cancer Society.

Aspirin, however, has been shown to dramatically lower the incidence of colon cancer in general. Whether taking aspirin at an early age would have the same preventative effects as it does for older people, or is even a good idea for those who only have an average risk of developing the disease, is unknown.

Possible Problems

  • Aspirin can cause ulcers in a small segment of the population.
  • Aspirin can exacerbate bleeding disorders.
  • Aspirin can cause young children to develop Reye's syndrome.
Low-Dose Aspirin

The most common recommendation is to take one baby aspirin (81 mg.) a day. Now that this has become a popular recommendation, you can also get "low dose" adult aspirin, but it's pretty much the same thing. Another option is to take one regular adult aspirin (325 mg) every other day.

However, even hinting that healthy people – especially healthy young people – should consider taking aspirin regularly is going to cause a good number of health professionals to develop migraines that aspirin couldn't touch.

Granted, it's a controversial decision, one best made by you in consultation with a doctor who'll take the time to discuss such issues, if you can find one.

  1. Gamba CA et al. Aspirin is associated with low melanoma risk among postmenopausal Caucasian women. Cancer. 2013 Apr 15;119(8):1562-9. PubMed.
  2. Hawley SA et al. The Ancient Drug Salicylate Directly Activates AMP-Activated Protein Kinase. Science. 2012 May 18;336(6083):918-22. PubMed.