Dr. Oz has done it again. On yesterday's Oprah show he shared some really helpful information about how to prevent colon cancer (by eating high fiber foods of course), then followed it up with poor advice: regular aspirin use.
In doing research for this blog post I've found quite a few studies do show aspirin and other NSAIDS (Non Steriodal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) have been demonstrated to modestly lower risk of colon and colorectal cancer, so I see where Dr. Oz is coming from. But remember, aspirin is a drug, and like any other drug, it has very serious side effects when taken regularly.
One of those side effects is folic acid deficiency. This is pretty ironic, since folic acid plays an enormous role in fighting heart disease and other cancers. Sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
And then of course, most of us are familiar with the aspirin-ulcer connection. It's a biggie.
Speaking of bleeding, aspirin interferes with the body's ability to form blood clots (through platelets). This is often hailed as a blessing, as blood clots can lead to heart attack and stroke. Yet this same mechanism can - and often does - prevent the body from forming life-saving blood clots, which is why an ER doctor will not push aspirin the way a heart doctor will. (I think it's time for the two to have a talk. Heart specialists seem to have no clue how many people end up in the ER from taking aspirin.)
Maybe the worst side effect of taking aspirin regularly is Leaky Gut Syndrome. You really don't want that. Leaky Gut gives us auto-immune disorders like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes, cystic fibrosis, irritable bowel, colitis, Crohn's disease, frequent migranes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, lupus, candida and fibromyalgia - to name a few. It also gives us food allergies, especially to gluten (wheat protein).
The American College of Gastroenterology has this to say about aspirin:
"Aspirin and other NSAIDS have been found to cause damage to the lining (or mucosa) of the digestive tract primarily in the stomach and upper intestine. This damage can result in an ulcer or intestinal bleeding. Although this can happen to an individual who is an infrequent user of aspirin or NSAIDs, it is of a much greater concern in frequent users, and those consuming higher dosages of these medications."
Messing with your gut mucosa is a good way to develop Leaky Gut Syndrome, and thus, one or more auto-immune diseases.
So if you want to prevent colon cancer without jeopardizing the rest of your body, stick to the high fiber diet. It works, and if you increase the amount of fiber you eat slowly over time, there are no side effects.