Aspirin is an old and trusted drug.
We’ve used aspirin safely for over a century.
And it’s a well-known pain reliever.
But it also has a valuable role in preventing and treating heart disease.
Doctors often recommend it when an individual has a heart attack.
An aspirin regimen is often used to prevent recurrence of attacks.
On top of that, it also has some action against cancer.
It is common for doctors to recommend its use after radiation and chemotherapy.
However, aspirin does have some well-known side effects.
One of the most common side effects of aspirin is that it can aggravate the stomach.
Because of this aggravation, doctors don’t recommend aspirin for patients who have stomach issues.
Aspirin can also thin the blood, which makes it inappropriate for people with blood clotting issues, such as hemophilia.
People should also avoid it if they take anything else that thins the blood.
For example, people who drink alcohol need to be careful with aspirin.
Mixing aspirin and alcohol thins the blood enough to make a small wound bleed excessively.
In addition to the blood thinning effect, there are a hold of side effects to drinking alcohol.
It can increase stress, deplete necessary vitamins and minerals, and increase the risk of certain diseases — such as cancer.
As such, the standard recommendation is to avoid taking aspirin if you consume alcohol.
But what if aspirin can protect you from alcohol’s negative effects?
The following study examined this very idea.
This study used mice.
Sometimes, studies using mice can be better than studies using humans.
You have more control over their actions and behavior.
In this study, researchers looked at the effect that alcohol had on pregnant mice.
Right from the start, you can see why this type of study could use humans.
Alcohol is proven to cause birth defects when consumed by pregnant women.
Clearly, it would be unethical to have a study that knowingly caused birth defects in humans!
In mice, it was no different.
Alcohol did indeed cause birth defects.
When conducted in pregnant mice, alcohol’s negative effects become much more pronounced.
Mice reproduce quickly and have short pregnancies.
So it’s much easier to see the damage alcohol causes by seeing the damage done to the mice’s litters.
The control group did indeed see serious birth defects from alcohol.
Alcohol caused a threefold increase in a developmental defect where the brain develops outside the skill.
Researchers also observed several facial anomalies and growth retardation.
In the test groups, researchers gave the mice aspirin before giving them alcohol.
In the groups of mice that received aspirin, there were far fewer birth defects.
However, aspirin did not completely counteract the effects of alcohol.
The pregnant mice in the aspirin group still had litters with lower birth weight than mice not exposed to any alcohol.
How does this study relate to humans?
First, it re-enforces the idea that avoiding or minimizing alcohol is the best step you can take for your health.
However, if you know you are going to be drinking alcohol, aspirin may be able to help minimize the damage.
You may want to take it a day or two before the occasion if you are worried about the blood thinning effects.
And if you are trying to have children, alcohol is best avoided completely.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you should always talk with your doctor.