My Concern About Tiger Woods Developing Leaky Gut Because of Ibuprofen

risks of ibuprofen

I know golf enthusiasts are thrilled to see Tiger Woods back on the golf course and playing some amazing golf – especially for someone who has been through multiple surgeries and other complications.

However, it was revealed in the Wall Street Journal today that Tiger is relying on Ibuprofen on a daily basis to keep him relatively pain-free. The newspaper quoted several orthopedists who disagreed with this treatment plan and, as a holistic doctor, I completely agree.

Dangers with Non-Steroidal Medications

Ibuprofen comes by different names.

Advil and Motrin inhibit pain by blocking a biochemical in the body called prostaglandins. Of course these drugs are wonderful to give you hours of pain relief; however, if used on a regular basis it comes with a price.

The side effects that are most dangerous are gastrointestinal bleeding which can be life-threatening. More recent studies have linked increased strokes and heart attacks associated with chronic ibuprofen usage. Kidney disease is another serious complication and is thought to be related. This is why Alonzo Mourning, the Miami Heat All-Star, had to undergo a kidney transplant.

In my holistic immunology practice, I am concerned when I see patients who are using ibuprofen chronically for fibromyalgia or other pain conditions that they are setting themselves up for Leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is when the cells in the intestinal lining, which are connected by tight junctions, start to separate and allow bacteria and toxins to migrate out of the intestine and to other organs in the body.

The repair of and treatment for Leaky Gut involves avoiding foods that can be inflammatory, such as refined sugar, gluten, wheat, and even dairy products. In addition, taking oral L- glutamine has been shown to help repair the gut lining.

A Better Choice to Protect Stomach Lining

I think a mistake by many physicians when they have a patient taking chronic ibuprofen is to give them a powerful acid blocker, such as omeperazole (Nexium or Prilosec). The thinking is that by decreasing the stomach acid, the stomach will be protected. However, this logic is faulty. Remember, ibuprofen works by inhibiting prostaglandins which thins the blood and erodes the stomach and intestinal lining. A better protective stomach medication for a patient on chronic NSAIDs would be either Carafate, which forms a protective layer over the stomach or Cytotech, which was specifically designed to help prevent ulcerations from NSAIDs.

I am rooting for Tiger Woods to make his comeback but I just want to also see him healthy enough to not only enjoy being back on the golf course but staying well for many years.

– Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group in NYC & Long Island

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