Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAIDs)
The human body produces the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). This enzyme is responsible for the synthesis of prostanglandin, an important hormone that helps regulate normal body functions and stimulates an immune response when needed. COX can be broken into 2 parts; COX1 and COX2. COX1 is continuously stimulated by the body to support kidney function, protect gastric mucosa, and control platelet count for vasoconstriction. COX2, however, is only stimulated as part of an immune response that results in symptoms of inflammation and pain. Each form of COX catalyzes arachidonic acid to form its own prostaglandins resulting in its specific desired effects.
Aspirin and many other NSAIDs have the ability to bind to active sites of COX, preventing the catalysis of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. In doing so, they block functions of both COX1 and COX2. Research shows that many NSAIDs in use today show no selectivity to COX1 and COX2 (aspirin) leading to an extensive list of side effects. Aspirin and similar NSAIDs used for chronic pain and inflammation have commonly shown to increase production of stomach acid leading to ulcerations and gastrointestinal bleeding. Because COX1 helps regulate vital body functions such as kidney homeostasis, renal failure is a possible side effect. COX2 inhibiting NSAIDs such as Celebrex also inhibit common side effects from long-term use.
Due to the nature of these medications, the safety of your own health should be the biggest factor when deciding which NSAID is most suitable for you. NSAIDs are contraindicated to a large population who have existing health issues such as GI bleeds, kidney dysfunction, and low platelet count. They have been the most common form of pain therapy due to its fast-acting agents. NSAIDs are not recommended for everyone despite their easy access. The benefits and long-term risks related with NSAIDs should be weighted very carefully.
Alternative Pain Relief
Biotechnology has exposed the use of systemic enzymes for a variety of symptoms including pain and inflammation. As a dietary supplement, they do not expose side effects. But rather, contribute to the body’s natural production of enzymes, catalyzing reactions more quickly. Serrapeptase, the main ingredient in Exclzyme and a potent proteolytic, has been proven to be an effective enzyme for the break-down of fibrin, the main source of inflammation and pain. Clinical studies show that serrapeptase induces fibrinolytic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-edemic effects on tissues. Serrapeptase has the ability to block the release of pain-inducing signals from inflamed tissues without inhibiting prostaglandins.