Are common pain relievers making you sick?

The most common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used in Australia both over-the-counter and prescription include aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen and meloxicam.  On the whole, Australians are administering significant amounts of anti-inflammatory medications, often for non-inflammatory ailments without realising the impact it could be having on their health.

NSAIDs have been implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease1 and directly contribute to inflammation in the gut and affect the lining of the gut wall, all too common these drugs may cause more problems than they promise to fix.

According to the Department of Health & Human Services, Victoria, “side effects of NSAIDs may include indigestion, stomach upset, or stomach pain…ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract (gut)2.”

While NSAIDs globally are the most common group of drugs used for pain relief3, NSAID use in the USA accounts for 16,500 deaths annually4.

The problem with leaky gut

Sitting on top of the largest mass of lymph tissue in the body, the gastrointestinal tract is literally the hub of the immune system.

Once the walls of the intestinal tract become inflamed, they are permeable or “leaky”. When it comes to protecting the body from things like allergies and food sensitivities, this becomes a problem. Damage to the intestinal walls (a leaky gut) means:

  • The body will have a harder time absorbing nutrients.
  • The immune system will be on alert, releasing inflammatory messengers, which eventually sets the body up for exhaustion and fatigue.
  • Other areas of the body become susceptible to chronic infection and inflammation.

Pain is the body’s begging for change

A yeast infection can very easily migrate outside the gut to other areas of the body, causing things like joint pain, skin disorders, depression, and brain fog. This is especially true when two factors are in place:

  1. When we eat a diet that feeds yeast and other opportunistic bugs, such a diet that is high in sugar, processed foods, and refined oils.
  2. When we have a leaky gut, which can be caused by NSAID use, alcohol or coffee consumption, smoking, and excessive exercise.

Cell alert

While clean and nourished cells are a simple formula for radiant health, it can be difficult if we don’t pay attention to our diet and lifestyle, including stress and poor sleep. Where there is pain, there is inflammation and if it persists long enough, tissue begins to die. Inflammation is a sign that cells are either:

  • Not receiving the nutrients that they need
  • Overwhelmed with toxicity

What you can do to heal leaky gut

There is no one-stop solution for everyone so visiting a good integrative GP, nutritionist or naturopath is the best course of action.

A few simple tips to heal the gut is firstly improve your inner ecosystem by eliminating sugar and yeast, include a good probiotic daily and explore other options for managing pain relief including acupuncture and herbal medicine.


For more information please call Elevate at (02) 9252 2225 to make an appointment with one of our integrative GPs, Nutritionists or Naturopaths. 






  3. R Hudec, et al. Consumption of three most widely used analgesics in six European countries. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2012; 37: 78–80.
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