The Difference Between Over the Counter Pain Killers

Many people ask me on a daily basis what the difference is between Tylenol, Motrin, Aleve, and Advil. They ask if one is stronger than the other and which one is safer to take. These products have all been readily available for many years however, people are still uncertain about which one best suits their situation. Hopefully, this post will help clear the confusion and lead to a safer, more effective regimen for your pain quelling needs.

Motrin and Advil are both the same as Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is the generic name, and Motrin and Advil are the brand names. The only difference between the two is the manufacturer. Aleve is made up of a similar chemical compound called Naproxen Sodium. Naproxen Sodium and Ibuprofen are in the same class of medicine known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Naproxen Sodium is thought to be a bit stronger than Ibuprofen because it lasts longer in the body (about 8-12 hours instead of 4-8). NSAIDs not only help alleviate pain, but they also help bring down swelling and inflammation that may occur with such problems as a sprain, arthritis and most types of headaches. NSAIDs have also been shown to be most effective for women suffering from dysmenorrhea since they block prostoglandins, which cause painful muscle cramps. NSAIDs should not be taken by people with high blood pressure since it may exacerbate their condition. NSAIDs can also wear away the lining of the esophagus and stomach if taken for a long period of time, which is why people with ulcers or acid reflux disease should avoid taking them as well. Pregnant women and kids under the age of 2 should also not use NSAIDs unless directed by a physician.

Tylenol, also known as acetominophen, is also a very effective pain killer, but it doesn’t reduce inflammation as NSAIDs do. The advantage of taking Tylenol is that it doesn’t destroy the mucosal lining of your esophagus and stomach, it doesn’t increase blood pressure, and it is relatively safe for people with kidney problems to use since Tylenol is mainly cleared by the liver. Also, for people with blood clotting disorders, such as hemophiliacs, Tylenol is a better choice since it doesn’t affect the blood’s ability to coagulate. This is why it is the drug of choice for people who may have internal bleeding or a concussion since it doesn’t worsen the condition. However, even though NSAIDs also affect the liver, it is believed that Tylenol can cause more damage to the liver if taken for a long period of time. For people with liver problems, or who drink alcohol excessively, Tylenol may not be best suited for you.

Hopefully, after reading this post, the next time you visit your local pharmacy or drugstore you will be equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision as to which pain medication is best for your needs. Hope these tips help and thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.


Alpha Lipoic Acid: Not Your Average Fatty Acid

I know the name may sound scary and that having acid sounds dangerous, but alpha lipoic acid is a different type of acid. Alpha lipoic acid is what is known as a fatty acid, which are molecules used to produce energy when metabolized in the body. It is a key player in many of our body’s normal functions and when taken as a supplement on a regular basis, it can bring a multitude of health benefits along with it.

As mentioned earlier, alpha lipoic acid helps produce energy in the body. It converts glucose into energy while simultaneously lowering your blood sugar. Energy in exchange for sugar is a very good thing since having high blood sugar can lead to many problems in the long run, such as obesity, nerve damage or even diabetes. Not only does alpha lipoic acid give the body energy, it protects it from damage as well since it also acts as a very potent antioxidant. An antioxidant protects the cells in your body from being damaged by free radicals, which are produced by the oxidation of molecules in your body. Oxidation is a common degradative process that readily occurs in the body, so you can imagine how important having antioxidants in your dietary regimen can be. Alpha lipoic acid is better than your average antioxidant tho because it works in both water and fat, which is significant since 70% of your body is made up of water. Also, alpha lipoic acid can recycle other antioxidants after they have been used up, so it keeps the protective effects going for a long time. Alpha lipoic acid also helps protect the brain and nerves from free radical damage, so it can prevent such diseases as Alzheimer’s or peripheral neuropathy. It can also help prevent cancer since cancer arises from abnormal cell growth, which can be caused from mutagenisis in your DNA due to free radical damage. Along with protecting your body on the inside, alpha lipoic acid serves a huge role in keeping the body looking young on the outside! Since your skin cells are being protected from free radical damage, your skin is kept looking young and healthy for a longer period of time.

You can find alpha lipoic acid at almost any health food market or drugstore. I recommend taking 300mg a day on an empty stomach for better absorption. You don’t have to take it everyday if you don’t want to, but try to make it a part of your daily diet overtime, because the more we age, the more dangerous free radicals are lurking around causing trouble in our bodies. Thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

Why Be Gluten-Free?

Like many others who are trying to stay healthy, I always take the whole wheat alternative as opposed to more processed options. However, what a lot of people do not know is that whole wheat contains gluten. Gluten is a protein that about 15% of the US population is intolerant of. It is found in wheat, barley and rye. How do you know you are intolerant? Here are some signs/symptoms that you should look for:

  1. Severe headaches after eating
  2. Digestive problems such as gas, bloating, loose stools or constipation (and in more sever cases, Celiac disease)
  3. Feeling unusually tired even after a good night’s rest
  4. Feeling dizzy or light headed
  5. Inflammation or pain in your joints
  6. Experiencing mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
  7. Unable to concentrate, focus, or remember things
  8. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or infertility

If you really want to discover whether you are gluten intolerant or not, try removing gluten from your diet for 2-3 weeks. If you feel substantially better during that time period, and then begin to feel bad again once you reintroduce gluten, then maybe you should remove gluten from your diet forever. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.