Can aspirin fight cancer?

If you have never heard of it Aspirin is a popular over the counter (OTC) medication that is popularly used to treat  many symptoms of inflammation, such as a headache and or migraine.  Recently, Aspirin has garnered much attention for its noticed ability to reduce risk of certain types of ailments such as cancer.  


Aspirin is the colloquial name for drug that unitizes the molecule salicylic acid as its active ingredient.  Salicylic acid is a natural defense toxin found ubiquitously throughout nature that is produced by plants.  Plants may produce it in protective response to stimuli such as pathogenic attack and  or environmental stress. It turns out the it may have protective effects on humans as well.


An observational study involving roughly 3700 individuals was undertaken to observe if a possible relationship between aspirin use and cancer was present.  The subjects were asked to report their aspirin intake frequency over a period of six years.  Additionally, their health status was measured during the study.  The results demonstrated that adults using aspirin 16 (roughly once or more every two days) or more times per month had around 40% lower risk for colorectal cancer1.   


Colon cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of lives.


An additional study also demonstrated the effect of salicylic acid, but measured efficacy in different types of colorectal cancer.  For colorectal the measured reduction is risk was 9%.  The risk reduction increase to 16% for distal colon cancer and 24% for rectal cancer respectively.  The effect of aspirin was more pronounced in so called first degree health risk for colorectal cancer (immediate sibling having the cancer already).  The reduction in risk was 62%.2


Salicylic acid has also been shown to positively react with DHA resulting in protective DHA metabolites6.  In vitro, endothelial cells grown with aceitesalcylic acid have led to converted DHA metabolites that may protect the brain6.


The actual mode of action in the human body of aspirin is still a subject of contention.  Some propose that it inhibits or reduces the production of key inflammation that lead to disease.  Additionally, some argue that the mechanism of course of action for natural aspirin is actually different then the synthetic aspirin5.  None the less to ensure you are getting your share of aspirin cancer fighting power you should be aware that foods rich in aspirin should be consumed frequently since aspirin has relatively short life style in the body.  Aspirin and its metabolites have half lives ranging from minutes to hours5.   If you are thinking about going a buying a couple of bottles of aspirin please don’t. You can get enough aspirin from fruits in vegetables.  In fact, a vegan diet rich with fruits in vegetables is can provide you with as much salicylic acid as individual taking 75 to 100 mg of aspirin per day5.  Here a a few good sources of natural aspirin to help you do that:




Curry Powder3

Tomatoes (more so sauces and pastes)4



In summary, dietary intake of salicylic acid is another good reason to keep eating your fruits and vegetables. Not only is salicylic acid anti inflammatory but helps to prevent some serious chronic diseases. Although over the counter products are abundant, opt for natural sources of salicylic acid in fruits and vegetables.




Sources Cited

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