Ibuprofen and Naproxen are commonly prescribed anti inflammatory medications. However, they often do more harm than good. I’ll explain the dark side of NSAID risk below

To understand why NSAIDS are bad, we need to quickly dive into some inflammatory mediators/pathways in the body: Cox 1 and 2

These are enzymes that:

  • create prostaglandins (needed for inflammation response)
  • create thromboxane (helps clotting)
  • provide blood flow to the kidneys

COX 1 Pathway and NSAID Risk

  • helps keep platelets together to stop bleeding (clot)
  • facilitates blood flow to the kidneys
  • protects your stomach lining

Dangers of Cox 1 Inhibition:

  • GI distress (source)
  • Ulcers (found in 10-30% of frequent NSAIDS users)
  • Intestinal bleeding

Cox 2 Pathway and NSAID Risk

  • primarily works to assist with inflammation
  • it is produced on an as needed basis by the body

Dangers of Cox 2 Inhibition:

  • Stroke
  • Blood clot
  • Heart attack

These were extremely brief overviews but should give an idea as to what these enzymes are responsible for

There can be cases made to try and inhibit these enzymes in certain diseases/conditions

The problem with Ibuprofen and Naproxen (and other NSAIDs) is that they are “non selective Cox inhibitors”

These means that they decrease the Cox 1 and 2 enzymes without bias, which is a bad deal

Dangers of General Cox Inhibition

  • Sodium and water retention
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney damage
NSAID risk factors

Overall NSAID risk:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased risk of kidney failure
  • Blood pressure meds become less effective
  • Reduce the anti blood clotting effects of Aspirin
  • Increased risk for cardiovascular pathology
NSAID risk summation


NSAIDS are bad and you should do everything in your power to avoid them. Inflammation is a natural part of healing and you should not risk organ health to reduce a normal and needed occurrence

To learn more about the acute inflammation phase and why it’s important, read here.