If you have been reading my reports long enough you know that I have advised against taking aspirin every day on a routine basis.
Well, because of some brand new research, some people are asking if I should change my mind.
Researchers have just discovered that aspirin has some remarkably positive effects besides those that it is known for.
But here’s the really exciting news. That same research also shows a way that we might be able to get all of the benefits of aspirin without actually having to take aspirin.
Before I get into the exciting details of this new research, let me briefly recap what I have already been reporting to you about the effects of regularly taking aspirin. First, the bad news. Those who take aspirin and have a stroke, die more often than those who don’t take it and have a stroke.
Also, it causes stomach ulcers in 13% of those using it. These ulcers usually develop without any warning symptoms. And many of these will have a serious stomach bleed at some point.
Not long ago, I told you about a new study that showed that taking low-dose aspirin on a regular basis more than doubles your risk of developing wet macular degeneration. That’s the worst kind of macular degeneration.
On the positive side, according to one of the largest ever meta-studies, those people who regularly take low-dose aspirin have a significantly lower chance of getting cancer. And when they do get cancer, they also have a much lower chance of having metastases and from dying from it.
So far, so good. And you probably already know about its blood-thinning, clot-preventing effects.
Now for the NEW Good News About Aspirin
Scientists recently looked at the effects of aspirin on the liver cells of mice. And they discovered some absolutely amazing findings.
It turns out that aspirin causes cells to produce two incredibly important cellular stimulators called PGC-1α and hydrogen peroxide. According to the authors of the study, PGC-1α acts to “profoundly affect mitochondrial metabolism and energy utilization.”
If you have read any of my books, you know that decreased mitochondrial function is the basis for every single age-related disease and even the very process of aging itself. Anything that increases or improves mitochondrial function is the Holy Grail of longevity and healthy aging.
The researchers were able to show that exposing cells to different doses of aspirin increased the production of PGC-1α anywhere from two to eight times! That translates out to a marked increase in mitochondrial function.
But What About Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is produced in the cells when oxygen is metabolized into energy. Hydrogen peroxide stimulates apoptosis or programmed cell death. Apoptosis is the main way the body prevents cancer.
Hydrogen peroxide also stimulates the antioxidant enzyme systems catalase and SOD (superoxide dismutase). These are what protect us from the dangers of free radicals. But as good as all these effects of aspirin are, it gets even better.
It turns out that aspirin not only increases the function of mitochondria, it also increases the number of mitochondria.
Using a staining method called MitoTracker Green dye, the researchers discovered that aspirin increased the total concentration of mitochondria by two to three times.
Since the most notable hallmark of aging is decreased numbers of mitochondria with decreased mitochondrial function, this data makes aspirin look like the best anti-aging substance that has ever come along.
So should we all run out and start taking aspirin every day?
I Think There’s a Better Way
It turns out that within a matter of less than 15 minutes, the liver converts aspirin to another substance called salicylic acid. So the researchers reasoned that the effects of aspirin might be from salicylic acid instead of from aspirin itself.
So to test for that, they repeated the same experiments using salicylic acid instead of aspirin. And guess what? The results were the same! The salicylic acid did just as well as the aspirin. And salicylic acid does not have the side effect baggage that aspirin has.
So how can we take advantage of this new information? It’s quite easy.
Willow bark is an herb that contains the substance salicin. And when we eat willow bark, our livers convert the salicin to salicylic acid. So by taking willow bark, it’s possible to get the same mitochondrial-stimulating effects that come from aspirin.
And not surprisingly, willow bark extract also relieves pain and inflammation just like aspirin does.
You can buy willow bark extract online. I recommend the Swanson’s 25% extract. Take two per day for the longevity effect.
One warning: Since salicylic acid is related to aspirin, people with an allergy to aspirin should avoid willow bark. Also, because aspirin can cause a rare childhood problem called Reye’s syndrome, willow bark should not be given on any regular basis to children under 15 years. And finally, although salicylic acid does not thin the blood as strongly as aspirin does, it should be taken with some caution by those who are already on blood thinning medications.
Kamble, P., D. Litvinov, C. Aluganti Narasimhulu, et al. “Aspirin may influence cellular energy status.” Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 December 31.
Kamble, P., K. Selvarajan, C. Aluganti Narasimhulu, et al. “Aspirin may promote mitochondrial biogenesis via the production of hydrogen peroxide and the induction of Sirtuin1/PGC-1α genes.” Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 January 15;699(1-3):55-61.
Mcilhatton, M.A. “Aspirin and low-dose nitric oxide donating aspirin increase life span in a Lynch syndrome mouse model.” Cancer Prev Res