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Posted September 18, 2013: by Bill Sardi
Today’s health news headline emanating from Great Britain is that childhood asthma rates have soared for the past 50 years, doubling over that time. About 1.1 million British youngsters and an additional 4.2 million adults have asthma – with 1400 asthmatics dying annually.
This means something that began happening in the 1960s continues today with devastating consequences. It has to be environmentally induced, not naturally occurring. This means a long standing epidemic can exist within a modern human population and the medical community appears oblivious, even powerless to understand or stop it.
Investigators now cite two large studies that point to a commonly used drug as the culprit – acetaminophen (called paracetamol in England; brand name Tylenol in the U.S.).
More than 8 of 10 British babies are given this drug for pain and fever within the first six months of life. Young children – 6-7 years of age – given acetaminophen just once in a year are 70% more likely to develop asthma. This risk is said to rise by 540% when the medicine is given at least once a month.
And the investigators know the very biological mechanism behind this drug induced epidemic. Acetaminophen causes a decline in a critical internal antioxidant called glutathione.
Glutathione is an essential antioxidant produced largely in the liver but also in cells throughout the human body. Vitamin C is critical for maintenance of glutathione levels. A 500 milligram supplemental dose of vitamin C has been shown to raise glutathione levels by almost 50%.
Of interest are reports showing acetaminophen not only induces childhood asthma but is also linked to Reye’s syndrome, a sudden life-threatening problem that often emanates days after a viral attack and is associated with the use of another fever-controlling medicine – aspirin.
Decades ago, at about the same time childhood asthma rates began to rise and Reye’s syndrome was associated with post-viral aspirin use, physicians abandoned aspirin in favor of acetaminophen in order to quell raging childhood fevers.
Even in reports where young asthmatic children were known to be given aspirin and/or acetaminophen, somehow investigators have never fingered acetaminophen as a co-cause of asthma — that is until recently.
Despite clear evidence in the medical literature that aspirin induces a critical shortage of vitamin C that can trigger deadly Reye’s syndrome, medical authorities continue to act bewildered and say “there is no cure” for that mortal syndrome either.
The evidence that aspirin depletes vitamin C levels is well established in the medical literature.
(I have written more extensively about the link between the flu and aspirin /vitamin C-related deaths here.)
Sadly, there is evidence that Reye’s syndrome dates back many decades before Australian pathologist R. Douglas Reye first described it in 1963. In fact, cases identical to the symptoms produced by Reye’s syndrome date back as far as 1929 in the medical literature, the very era when aspirin was widely first marketed in the fearful aftermath of the 1918 Spanish flu.
Ironically, during the Spanish flu pandemic, some people believed the Germans (Bayer) who marketed aspirin placed the Spanish flu virus in aspirin as a war tactic. There was no virus in aspirin tablets, just a way to disengage the human immune system when potentially deadly flu viruses began to replicate.
Vitamin C wasn’t discovered till 1932 and was artificially synthesized in 1935. So vitamin C pills weren’t available during the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
Even though some evidence is considered “compelling,” pediatric researchers continue to deny there is sufficient evidence that acetaminophen (paracetamol) causes asthma, even though the biological mechanism is the same.
A possible reason why acetaminophen use doesn’t consistently increase the risk for asthma among children in all reported studies is that some populations of children may be more vitamin C sufficient than others. Certainly the severity of asthma attacks is associated with low vitamin C levels.
Clearly, the way to proceed is to include a measured amount of supplemental vitamin C with acetaminophen among large groups of children for extended periods of time to determine whether asthma is truly linked to a drug-induced shortage of vitamin C. While no harm could be expected from this, modern medicine seems to be dragging its feet over the idea. Vitamin therapy is anathema to the best-trained physicians.
Until advised otherwise, parents should be wary of using aspirin or Tylenol to quell fevers in young children. Supplemental vitamin D is advised as it well documented to quell even severe tropical induced disease fevers. Supplemental vitamin C is also suggested. Ginger root may be as effective as aspirin without inducing asthma or mortal Reye’s syndrome, though its pungency may be difficult for young children to handle. ©2103 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.
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