Aspirin for everyone over 50?: Are we treating a nutritional deficiency?BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7509.161-b (Published 14 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:161
EDITOR—If as many as 80% of men and 50% of women over 50 will benefit from taking aspirin then perhaps a non-disease approach should be considered.1 Could the effects of aspirin be mimicking a nutrient missing in the modern/civilised diet? As reported in New Scientist, organically grown vegetable soups contain almost six times more salicylic acid than do non-organic vegetable soups.2 Morgan has suggested that salicylates are essential for good health and could be designated vitamin “S.”3
Many commonly used medicinal herbs contain substances that the body biotransforms to salicylic acid. For example, salicin is found in Salix spp, Populus spp, Viola spp, and Viburnum spp; fraxin is found in Fraxinus spp; and both spiraein and salicylaldehyde are found in Filipendula spp.4 5 These substances are biotransformed after passage through the stomach and so are not associated with the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding, as is aspirin.w1 w2 Salix extracts have several anti-inflammatory targets, including effects on both forms of cyclo-oxygenase.w2
Competing interests MM is a distributor of herbal and nutritional products.
References w1 and w2 are on bmj.com