by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
May 8, 2010
Millions of people take anti-inflammatory drugs (typically Non- Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs [NSAIDS]) to reduce pain and inflammation in their bodies. Unfortunately, these drugs can also damage their ears.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include drugs in the following drug classes. Note: in order to give you an idea of the drugs we are talking about, I’ve listed one or two representative drugs under each class (generic drug name first followed by a brand name in brackets).
Acetic acids (12 ototoxic drugs in this class)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren)
- Ketorolac (Toradol)
Cox-2 inhibitors (5 ototoxic drugs in this class)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Valdecoxib (Bextra)
Fenamates (3 ototoxic drugs in this class)
- Mefenamic acid (Ponstel)
Oxicams (5 ototoxic drugs in this class)
- Meloxicam (Mobic)
Propionic acids (13 ototoxic drugs in this class)
- Ibuprofen (Advil)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
Salicylates (13 ototoxic drugs in this class)
- Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin)
- Mesalamine (Asacol)
These NSAID drugs can have numerous ototoxic side effects. Some of the more common ototoxic side effects include ear pain, hearing loss, tinnitus, and vestibular (balance) side effects such as ataxia (staggering gait), dizziness and vertigo (spinning sensation).
People have asked me how they can both control the pain/inflammation they have, and yet not suffer from these ototoxic side effects.
The good news is that changes in diet go a long way towards reducing inflammation (and thus the need for such drugs).
Incidentally, inflammation is not a minor problem, but is a “well- known contributor to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.”
In order to reduce inflammation you need to greatly reduce your intake of foods that cause inflammation. According to nutrition expert Dr. Andrew Rubman, ND, the 10 worst inflammatory foods include (1):
- “Desserts made with lots of sugar (cookies, candy, ice cream and so on).
- Sweetened cereals.
- “White” carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, white potatoes, English muffins, etc.).
- Non-diet soft drinks.
- Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup.
- Processed meats (bologna, salami, hotdogs, sausage and others made with preservatives and additives).
- French fries, potato chips and other fried snack foods.
- Fast foods, most specifically the ones that are high-fat, high-calorie, high simple carbohydrate—which describes most of the inexpensive offerings at quick-serve restaurants.
- Margarine, because it contains processed sterols called stanols that have been implicated in both atherosclerosis and various fatty-deposit diseases.
- Organ meats such as liver, because these often contain undesirable products including antibiotics, fertilizer and other unwanted residues.”
At the same time, you want to include (greatly increase) your intake of the 10 best anti-inflammatory foods. These include:
- “Wild salmon, mackerel and other omega-3-fatty-acid-rich fish.
- Green, leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach and kale).
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.).
- Deeply pigmented produce, such as sweet potatoes, eggplant and pomegranate…along with carrots, plums, oranges, peppers, peas and red grapes.
- Whole grains. [Note that many people are sensitive to grains so even whole grains can cause inflammation in numbers of people so you might want to include grains of any kind in the above inflammatory list.]
- Tea—specifically black, green and white teas.
- Cold-pressed fresh oils, including avocado, flaxseed and olive oils in particular.
- Spices (specifically, garlic, ginger, turmeric, saffron).”
Note: wolfing your food down also increases the inflammation index of the foods you eat, so slow down, chew your food completely before swallowing.
Since making drastic lifestyle changes is difficult, and prone to failure, start by choosing to make wiser decisions. Thus, consciously choose to substitute one of the foods in the “worst” list with one of the foods in the “best” list. As you continue to do this, over time you will realize you have almost eliminated the worst inflammatory foods from your diet—and surprise—you’ll notice you feel ever so much better in the process, and thus likely won’t need to take anti-inflammatory drugs anymore.
(1) The above information was extracted from the article “10 Best and Worst Foods for You” contained in the April 22, 2010 issue of Bottom Line Secrets “Daily Health News” newsletter.