Regular use of ibuprofen can lower risk of Parkinson’s

By Shayna Brouker • Published: June 14th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s common knowledge that an aspirin a day can keep heart attacks away, and even save a life if one occurs. But new research has found that regular use of a different pain-fighting pill could keep Parkinson’s disease at bay.

A Harvard University study showed that adults who took ibuprofen two or three times a week had a twenty-seven percent decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s. The study, which looked at data from more than one-hundred-thousand people over six years, also found that those who used ibuprofen regularly for ten years or more had less than half the risk of developing Parkinson’s compared with non-users. Those with six to eight years of use had about a twenty-five percent reduced risk.

Curiously, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, did not have the same effect.

Experts think ibuprofen’s ability to reduce inflammation could alleviate swelling in the brain, which can contribute to Parkinson’s. It might also protect brain cells that produce dopamine. Loss of those cells could be one of the causes of Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s is a debilitating neurological disease that causes tremors and difficulty with walking, talking and coordination. One million Americans live with the condition. There is no cure, but toxins, genetics and aging could be to blame.

The triangle between inflammation, ibuprofen and Parkinson’s seems a promising path to pursue, but don’t start taking it just yet; experts warn that habitual ibuprofen-popping can also cause kidney and stomach damage.

Until more research uncovers the causes behind this mysterious disease, load up on berries for breakfast. These natural nuggets contain powerful nutrients called flavonoids that have been found to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s by up to thirty-five percent. Apples, tea, red wine, chocolate and citrus fruits also boost brain power.