Aspirin, Fats, and Breaking the Cycle of Pain

Low back pain?
Recurrent migraines?
Old sports injuries?
Or any other painful condition that keeps recurring?
Or any other Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) more than three times a month?
Hydrogenated vegetable oil
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
Or any foods that contain these substances?

Margarine, Crisco, and other hydrogenated fats are not natural food substances and take a long time to break down in the body.  If the body is overwhelmed trying to break down these chemically transformed fats, it is unable to digest and utilize natural fats and oils.

Overuse of aspirin and other NSAID’s stimulate leukotriene production in the body.  Leukotrienes are produced by white blood cells and are highly inflammatory.  They can keep injuries from healing, and can cause pain.  NSAIDs can cause inflammation and pain!

Some people know that aspirin doesn’t agree with them, but for others aspirin and other NSAIDs seem to help.  If these drugs help, there is a nutritional deficiency, and it indicates that NSAIDs won’t correct it.  In the end, it is better to address pain nutritionally than take aspirin.  I’ll explain how balancing fat metabolism will keep pain from recurring.


Natural fats and oils are needed for energy production, hormone production, immune stimulation, and the protection of nerve cells.  There are three families of natural fats and oils, each of which are converted into special hormones called prostaglandins (PGs).  Our bodies need all three types of fats in balanced amounts, because we need all three groups of PGs hormones to make our cells work well.

Unfortunately, most of our diets are too high in fats from meat and dairy.  These fats produce too much PG2 hormones.  When the PG2 hormones are found in excess of the PG1 and PG3 hormones, it contributes to many common degenerative illnesses in our society.  Excess PG2s increase blood clotting, blood pressure, swelling and destructive inflammatory processes, and tumor growth.  They can also contribute to asthma and menstrual cramps.  PG1 and PG3, if found balanced in the diet, will block the harmful effects of excess dairy and meat fats, and the PG2 hormones they cause to proliferate.

The Three Family of Fats
Prostaglandin Family #1 Prostaglandin Family #2 Prostaglandin Family #3
PG1 are produced from linoleic acid, which is found in most vegetable oils, including peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, corn oil, and evening primrose and black currant seed oils, which are used as nutritional supplements. PG2 are produced from arachidonic acid that comes from red meats, organ meats, dairy fats, shellfish, and mollusks. PG3 are produced from alphalinolenic acid, which comes from walnut, flax, chestnut, wheat germ, canola, soy, and other bean oils.  PG3 are also produced from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which comes from fish oils.  
They are commonly referred to as warm weather oils. Most western diets include large amounts of these fats. They are commonly referred to as cold weather oils.

Aspirin and other NSAIDs block the conversion of meat and dairy fats (arachidonic acid) into inflammatory PG2, hence their short-term effectiveness.  Unfortunately, it also blocks the conversions of warm and cold weather fats, including fish oils (linoleic, alphalinolenic, and eicosapentaenoic acids), into PG2 and PG3, thereby robbing the body of necessary hormones.  If NSAIDs help with pain and inflammation, there is an imbalance and it is better to supplement the diet with PG1 and PG3 producing fats and oils.

When aspirin and other NSAID’s are taken on a regular basis (as little as 2-3 times a month) arachidonic acid, from meat and dairy fats, stimulate white blood cells into producing leukotrienes.  Leukotrienes are highly inflammatory, much more inflammatory than the PG2 substances and up to 1000 times as inflammatory as histamine.  Many people then are caught in a cycle of pain, taking NSAIDs for the pain, which then increases inflammation, edema, and vasodilation thereby causing more pain.


Trans fatty acids are the main ingredients of margarine and Crisco.  Trans fatty acids are unnatural fats that are produced from natural fats by the chemical processes of hydrogenation and partial hydrogenation.  They are found in almost every fat-containing product in the grocery stores. The food industry uses them because it takes such a long time for them to spoil.  Unfortunately, they are not natural, and the body has a hard time breaking them down.  Trans fats have a half-life in the body of 51 days.  In other words if you eat a teaspoon of margarine it will take almost 2 months for your body to process and break down half of it.

Trans fats also contribute to inflammation.  Trans fats block enzymes that are necessary to convert warm weather oils (linoleic acid) into PG1   hormones, and cold weather and fish oils (alphalinolenic acid and GLA) into PG3 hormones, causing an imbalance.  With this imbalance, there is excessive PG2 production, causing inflammation as was discussed earlier.

Another problem is that the fats that don’t break down into their respective hormones may back up into the blood stream, contributing to heart conditions, or become stored in fat tissue, contributing to obesity.  Hydrogenated fats are poisons and should be completely eliminated from the diet.


Read labels and eliminate all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats from your diet.

Stop taking aspirin and other NSAIDs.

Incorporate cold weather, warm weather, and fish oils into your diet. Use only cold pressed, virgin, or expeller pressed oils because heat can break these oils down and they are not processed using chemical solvents.  They can be found at health food stores.

Cut back on meat and dairy fats.

It may also be necessary to incorporate supplements such as zinc, selenium, B-6, quercitin, vitamin E, and C into your diet. Use only high quality supplements.  Seek professional help if you need it.

It may take up to three weeks to see the effects of a change in fatty acid metabolism.  If you need help with this or other problems please contact me.

Update 5/16/2010: My understanding from the Weston Price organization is that butter, eggs, and meat from grass fed animals has great anti-inflammatory properties. Read this to understand “Why Butter is Better.” Also, it seems that we are eating too much from the PG1 group.

This work is based on the works of Walter Schmitt D.C. and Donald Rubin M.D. and was written with help from Jordan Brown.

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