Are you taking “Vitamin I”? Why we should use caution when taking NSAIDs.

Jul 11, 2019

First of all what are NSAIDs? NSAIDs are Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs and are the most prescribed medication for treating pain and conditions like arthritis. Most people are familiar with over the counter NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin but there are many others. We meet new patients that use them so often that they refer to Ibuprofen as their “Vitamin I”.

Many medical guidelines for treating acute injuries involve taking NSAIDs. Some NSAIDs you can buy over the counter, and others are controlled and given by prescription. While people feel they benefit in the short term from reduced pain there are real and even potentially very serious downsides to taking these medications.

To be clear and transparent, I’m not a medical doctor. I’m a chiropractor that is board certified in sports medicine by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. But none of us need to be a medical doctor to read literature. I meet and work with people daily that are looking for ways to address both acute and chronic pain. I’ll give you the standard disclaimer that you should make any decisions about whether to take or not to take NSAIDs after considering your own research and consulting with your doctor.

While I understand the reasons why people choose to use NSAIDs (think pain), there are other considerations that might have most people that use them thinking twice.

There are 3 things that I would suggest that anybody taking NSAIDs consider:

1. Heart Attack – Your increased risk of dying from a heart attack from taking NSAIDs based on 26 studies is.

239% with Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil
398% with Diclofenac, Cataflam, Voltaren
207% with Celecoxib, Celebrex
407% with Etoricoxib, Arcoxia
158% with Rofecoxib, Vioxx
189% with Lumiracoxib (Prexige)

2. Stroke - Your increased risk of stroke when taking NSAIDs based on 26 studies is.

176% with Naproxen
335% with Ibuprofen, Motrin, and Advil
286% with Diclofenac, Cataflam, Voltaren
267% with Etoricoxib (Arcoxia)
281% with Lumiracoxib (Prexige)

3. Cartilage and Joint Destruction – Soft tissue repair is impaired.

Your joints are constantly replacing cartilage and other cells. Movement creates the need for our body to replace older and damaged cells. Studies (see below) show us that Naprosyn (Aleve) and other NSAIDs alter normal gene expression and stem cell activity in a way that decreases a joints ability to create normal healthy tissue like collagen, cartilage, and tendon. Normal cartilage is replaced with a less durable form sometimes referred to as Collagen X. This results in joints over time that are less able to withstand the mechanical forces they are designed to endure likely leading to further arthritis.

When considering some of the inherent risks of NSAIDs which are rarely spoken of, taking a regular or even daily Ibuprofen may not be a wise decision. Although it is convenient to walk to the cabinet in the kitchen and get your Vitamin I we must consider not just the pros but also the cons of doing so.

If you’re tired of dealing with an achy back, neck, knee, hip, shoulder… or whatever, come and see us. Arvada Sport and Spine Group is designed with the right team to give you the best options to avoid drugs and surgery when possible. Our collaborative approach includes regenerative medicine with stem cell and PRP therapy, sports chiropractic, and physical therapy. Our team will assess your needs and design a plan of integrated care to help you achieve your best you.

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2016 Apr;24(4):597-604. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.11.003. Epub 2015

Nov 10.

Long term use of analgesics and risk of osteoarthritis progressions and knee replacement:

propensity score matched cohort analysis of data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

Primary Source


Source Reference: Jüni P, et al "Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs:

network meta-analysis" BMJ 2011; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c7086.

Secondary Source


Source Reference: Ray W "Cardiovascular safety of NSAIDs" BMJ 2011; DOI:


Fredriksson et al. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2013, 8:30


Diclofenac and triamcinolone acetonide impair tenocytic differentiation and promote adipocytic

differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells