Acetaminophen (Tylenol) May Dull Happiness
Acetaminophen’s apparent dulling effect on peoples emotional responses might work for better or for worse, watering down not only negative emotions but also positive ones.
Tylenol is a product of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
Researchers showed emotional photos to college students who had either taken a 1,000-mg dose of acetaminophen or a placebo.
Those who took the painkiller had more muted emotional responses to both negative and positive images.
According to the researchers: “Participants who took acetaminophen evaluated unpleasant stimuli less negatively and pleasant stimuli less positively, compared with participants who took a placebo.
Participants in the acetaminophen condition also rated both negative and positive stimuli as less emotionally arousing than did participants in the placebo condition …
These findings suggest that acetaminophen has a general blunting effect on individuals’ evaluative and emotional processing, irrespective of negative or positive valence.”
As for why the drug may dull human emotions, the researchers suggested it might alter brain activity, such as the activity of serotonin, reduce inflammatory signaling or decrease activation in brain areas linked to emotional processing.
Although they were not tested, the researchers believe other pain relievers, including aspirin or ibuprofen, might have similar emotion-blunting effects.
Acetaminophen is 1 of the most commonly used pain relievers in the world, but research shows it may only be mildly effective compared to placebo. It has been suggested that regular doses of up to 4,000 mg a day of the drug might be needed for optimal therapeutic benefits, but this could pose a risk of serious side effects.
Meanwhile, in Y 2015 a systematic review of randomized trials found acetaminophen works no better than a placebo. The review of 13 studies found “high-quality evidence” that acetaminophen is ineffective for treating low back pain and had only a small effect in patients with osteoarthritis.
That small effect was “not likely to be meaningful for clinicians or patients,” the researchers wrote. In addition, acetaminophen use increased the risk of having an abnormal result on liver function tests by nearly 4X. Considering the risks, both those that are known and the brain effects that are currently being unraveled, and the lack of clear effectiveness, you may be better off seeking alternative forms of pain relief.
Acetaminophen and related products are familiar household items for many, but they are not the only option when you need relief from pain. For instance, the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) works very effectively for relieving pain and can be used for children as well.
The Advanced Muscle Integration Technique (AMIT) helps treat muscle injuries and pain as well, while these simple exercises may work wonders for treating back pain.
No matter what the reason for taking Tylenol there is a natural alternative.
- Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than many NSAIDs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
- Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. In fact, curcumin has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in 4 studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.
- Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years.
- Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful.
- Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory.
- Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
- Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Therapeutic modalities such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation, hot and cold packs, and even holding hands can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
When I get a headache, I drink a double Organic espresso, it works quickly for me.
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