A new study published online November 22 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology shed some new light on the use of Tylenol.
It doesn’t look pretty in this new light.
I know it would be easier to turn the light off, but instead, let’s shine a spotlight on Tylenol so that we can help spread awareness, and then lets talk about all the positive wonderful alternatives there are out there.
Okay, here is the low down. Taking just a tiny amount more Tylenol then recommended, on a chronic basis, may lead to death. And if not death, brain injury requiring artificial ventilation and liver injury requiring dialysis are increased outcomes as well.
This large study, which followed 663 patients admitted for liver injury from 1992 – 2008, showed that folks who repeatedly took Tylenol doses just *slightly* higher than recommended had brain injury, liver damage, and an increased risk of death. This was compared to the patients that were admitted for taking a single massive overdose, and the shocking findings were that miniscule, chronic overdoses had a worse outcome then those taking massive overdoses.
Hold up, what? Yes. Taking just one extra Tylenol pill a day on a routine basis is harder on your body then a massive overdose.
So liver problems, brain problems, and an increased risk of death, from chronic doses that are only ONE EXTRA TYLENOL PILL a day. That’s all it takes to exceed the recommended safe dosage. So we aren’t talking about a large amount of Tylenol… we are talking one extra pill.
The number one reason patients cited for taking a little extra Tylenol then recommended was pain. So they are in chronic pain and hoping that taking one or two extra Tylenol each day will help. This seems completely reasonable and I’m sure many folks… folks that we know and love… are doing this exact thing.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Tylenol comes in 325 mg pills, and the adult dosage is to take 2 (650 mg) as frequently as every 4 hours. This adds up to a total of 3900 mg of Tylenol a day.
The dose that caused the brain and liver damage? The dose that increased artificial ventilation, dialysis, and death rates? Anything over 4000 mg a day. Okay, that’s 100 mg over the quantity listed on the label. Considering each pill is 325 mg… we are talking just one extra pill a day. Less then one, if you want to be honest. Taking a third of a pill each day extra is TOO MUCH.
This study was conducted in adults, but the scary thing to me is using Tylenol for babies and children. Folks whose brains and livers are still developing.
Does any parent really *know* their child’s EXACT weight on any given day? My sweet children are the offspring of two physicians and yet I can say I have never been 100% certain of their weight when dosing medication to them.
If a tiny overdose, adding just one small *fraction* of a dose to their intake, can cause problems… how is this avoidable? Tylenol is frequently used for fever in young children… and I’m thinking that many parents, who are trying to bring down a high fever in their child, might give a slightly higher dose of Tylenol, thinking that it will help reduce the fever faster.
Done over a long period of time, the findings show this causes more damage than a single *massive* overdose. YIKES!!!!
Step away from the Tylenol, folks.
Let’s turn our attention to what we can do to reduce inflammation and fever instead of taking Tylenol.
Here is a good start:
1.) For chronic pain, fish oil (or krill oil) is a head to toe anti-inflammatory and soother that works every organ… from your skin to your brain. Boasting many many benefits beyond decreasing pain, I recommend taking your Omega 3’s every single day, whether you are in pain or not.
2.) For chronic or acute inflammation… so yes, everything from your chronic knee pain to your acute tension headache… you just can’t beat grounding. Laying on the earth. Laying directly on the earth neutralizes the free radicals causing inflammation in your body from head to toe. Easing everything from insomnia to back pain, menstrual cramps to post-surgical healing… nothing is a better anti-aging plan then laying on the earth for 10 minutes a day. Yes, keep your clothes on. Yes, bundle under a blanket if you like. Yes, bring out a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of water, hell even a glass of wine… your favorite book, your favorite pillow… and just chill.
If you can’t go outside, take a nice hot soothing bath with organic Himalayan and dead sea salts to help ground you… similar to taking a swim in the ocean… ahhh….
3.) Spice it up… using rosemary, thyme, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon in your diet helps decrease inflammation across your entire body.
4.) Stay hydrated. Studies have shown that hydrating decreases pain instantly… keeping your joint discs hydrated, your blood flowing and speeding immune boosting agents and oxygen to your sore areas, and boosting over all health. If you are in pain, stop and drink a glass of water while you consider your next step.
5.) For nerve pain, B-12 supplements can help greatly over time.
6.) For soreness, topical magnesium gel helps relax it away… I love to use this whenever my shoulders knot up. For fibromyalgia pain, post exercise soreness, and general muscle tension (including dreaded tension headaches) this can make a real difference.
7.) Proteolytic enzymes help reduce inflammation and can be a god-send for those in chronic pain.
8.) Topical arnica gels and creams help decrease pain if you have a specific injury such as a bruise or an insect sting.
9.) For fevers, staying well hydrated, cool wash clothes on the forehead or nape of the neck, sucking on ice chips or ice pops, resting, and letting your body do it’s thang is the first step.
10.) For growing pains, menstrual cramps, abdominal pain secondary to gas or bloating, back pain, or really most any kind of pain, a hot water bottle is my go-to therapy. Everyone in my family has their own hot water bottle, and those bottle have seen us through everything from PMS to growing pains to freezing cold nights in the winter and everything in between.
11.) For uncomfortably high fevers or fevers that don’t resolve, seek medical attention as needed and if you must take a medication to reduce you or your child’s fever, stick with Motrin. Throw out your Tylenol and stock up on Motrin to have on hand when you need it.
There you have it, my top 11 ways to take care of inflammation and pain without using Tylenol.
Have any others to add to the list? CoQ10 work for you? Is it accupuncture you love? Please, oh please would you share it in the comments below so that we can all benefit? And while you are at it, share this post with anyone in your life who might use Tylenol, to alert them to stay well within the recommended dosages and to avoid using in children all together. Thank you!!!!!