Many people are taking an aspirin a day to keep the doctor away, instead of the proverbial apple. If you are among those taking aspirin daily, you should consider the drug’s effects on your body and its essential nutrient stores. Here are 5 things you should consider:
1. Increased loss of folic acid in urine as well as reduced blood levels of folic acid have been found in arthritics taking aspirin. Folic acid is necessary to help us deal with stress, to keep our immune system strong, and as a coenzyme that ensures the proper functioning of many biochemical reactions in our bodies. To counter the lost folic acid, most doctors recommend 400 mcg of folic acid daily for arthritics taking aspirin.
2. Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding that causes loss of iron from the body. If continued over the long-term, iron-deficiency anemia can result. Women, particularly menstruating women, may be vulnerable to anemia. Be sure to have your iron levels tested. Iron supplementation may be beneficial in cases where iron deficiency is confirmed with laboratory tests. Read more about iron requirements and vegetable-based sources.
3. Aspirin may deplete vitamin B12 in people with heart disease. The drug can also damage the stomach in some cases, an organ that plays a critical role in vitamin B12 absorption. Vitamin B12 is necessary for our energy levels, balanced moods, memory and nervous system functions. Supplementary vitamin B12 may help address any deficiencies of this nutrient.
4. Aspirin may deplete vitamin C. Vitamin C is required for bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell creation. It helps accelerate wound healing, aids with the production of collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essential to helping us cope with stress. Supplementation of a few hundred milligrams of vitamin C daily may counter this depletion. See these 6 food sources of vitamin C.
5. Aspirin has been shown to decrease blood levels of zinc. Zinc is required for proper digestion and utilization of carbohydrate foods like grains, vegetables, fruits, and sugars, and protein foods like meat, eggs, and beans. Men typically have higher zinc needs than women to support healthy prostate function. This essential mineral is necessary for the body to manufacture at least 200 different enzymes needed for various aspects of metabolism and life. Our blood, bones, brain, heart, liver, and muscles also depend on adequate levels of this important mineral to function properly. Supplementing with zinc may address these losses.
Adapted with permission from The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM.