Ibuprofen + Leaky Gut=NO

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May 12, 2014 by Dr. Sana Keller

A very simple math lesson:

Ibuprofen is a ‘NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug’ (NSAID), along with other familiar ones in this category, including Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Celebrex, Naprosyn, Aspirin, Relafen, and more. NSAID

‘Leaky Gut’ Syndrome is a condition in which the insides of the small intestine (remember learning about the microscopic ‘finger-like’ villi in high school Biology?) become irritated, inflamed and more permeable than normal, allowing toxins from the small intestine to enter the blood stream. This in turn impairs liver, lymphatic, and immune system function. The chronic nature of this can result in an ‘auto-immune’ diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as asthma, irritable bowel, eczema, food allergies, migraines, sinusitis, breast fibroids, fungal infections and more. LG

Reasons for the “= NO”: Clinical studies have shown that NSAIDs disrupt intestinal integrity and long term treatment leads to inflammation of the small intestine.

  • A study published in 1998 (International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology) reported that all conventional NSAIDs were equally associated with small intestinal inflammation (except for Aspirin and Relafen).
  • A more recent study of athletes from 2012 found that Ibuprofen aggravated exercise-induced small intestinal injury and induced gut barrier dysfunction in healthy individuals (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise).
  • A meta-analysis (analysis of many studies) from 2009 (Journal of Gastroenterology) reported that virtually all studies agreed that all conventional NSAIDs increased intestinal permeability in humans within 24 hours of ingestion. This finding was equally evident with long term use.
  • NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen) can also make gluten sensitivity worse. These medications increase what is called “leaky gut”, or more technically, intestinal permeability.


It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction for many to reach for an ‘NSAID of choice’—so what now? Below are a few alternatives—to help you protect and regain your health.

Safer Options:

Anti-inflammatory diet

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Curcumin (turmeric)




Cayenne (Capsaicin) Cream

White willow bark


Your ‘heads up’ for the week–Thanks for reading.

Sana Keller, MS, RN, CNC, MH, HHP     http://www.healthunlimited.biz

Photo credits: bodyresolution.com, leakygutcure.com, webmd.com, empowermentepilepsyandelephants.com


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