Researchers from Europe, led by a team from Imperial College in London, asked 1,028 people, about half of whom had asthma, how often they took painkillers containing paracetamol, known as acetaminophen (Tylenol in the US. They compared this with use of painkillers that do not contain paracetamol, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Result: Participants who took paracetamol-containing painkillers at least once a week were 2.87 times more likely to suffer from asthma than those who took it less often. There was no association between asthma and other painkillers.

In my view, acetaminophen depletes levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that protects against airway inflammation. Studies also show that the painkiller reduces the antioxidant capacity in the blood, which could be why people who regularly use this drug are more susceptible to asthma. I recommend avoiding repeated use of acetaminophen whenever possible. Instead, try natural pain relievers, such as methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine and boswellia, all available at health-food stores. Acupuncture and homeopathy can treat all types of pain. Chiropractic treatments also can be used for muscles and joints.

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