The Dangers of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) - Paula Owens, MS

Educating and Empowering You to Heal, Thrive, and Live a Happy, Healthy Lifestyle

Paul Owens - Functional Health Expert

Sign Up for Free Health News & Wellness Videos

The Dangers of Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

The Dangers of Acetaminophen - Paula Owens, MS Holistic Nutritionist and Functional Health PractitionerAcetaminophen is a pain relief drug found in a variety of over-the-counter medications and prescription pain relievers. Tylenol, the most common brand of acetaminophen in the U.S. and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most sold pharmaceutical drugs worldwide.

The active ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen is found in more than 600 drugs including many OTC medications targeted at children.

Buyer Beware! OTC drugs that contain acetaminophen

  • Tylenol: Extra Strength, PM, Children’s, Infant’s, Sinus Pain Relief, Headache & Pain Relief
  • Benadryl
  • NyQuil and DayQuil
  • TheraFlu
  • Excedrin
  • Midol
  • Vicks
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus
  • Sudafed
  • Mucinex
  • Little Remedies for Fevers
  • Robitussin

The Dangers of Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings worldwide. 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning involve a child who got into a medicine belonging to an adult. According to the American Journal of Medicine, approximately 107,000 individuals are hospitalized every year for NSAID-related GI complications, and at least 16,500 deaths occur.

Ibuprofen is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits if not number one. Why? All non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen cause internal stomach bleeding.
From a research paper: “NSAIDs can cause damage to the gastroduodenal mucosa via several mechanisms, including the topical irritant effect of these drugs on the epithelium, impairment of the barrier properties of the mucosa, suppression of gastric prostaglandin synthesis, reduction of gastric mucosal blood flow and interference with the repair of superficial injury.”

Acetaminophen, Toxic Tylenol and NSAIDs: Harmful Side Effects

  • GI bleeding, microbiome destruction, leaky gut
  • Liver toxicity; acetaminophin (Tylenol) is the #1 cause of acute liver failure
  • Nutrient deficiencies including B vitamins, zinc, iron, potassium, vitamin C; blocks glutathione
  • Endocrine disruptor: decreased testosterone and melatonin
  • Heavy metal accumulation (lead, arsenic, aluminum, mercury and other heavy metals)
  • Suppresses protein synthesis repair
  • Blunts emotions, reduces empathy
  • Heartburn
  • Kidney damage
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Skin reactions, hives, rashes
  • Joint deterioration
  • Long-term use has been linked to high blood pressure, brain inflammation and brain damage
  • Fatigue, confusion
  • Asthma, COPD, respiratory problems
  • Autism, ADHD
  • Blurred vision, macular degeneration, vision loss
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Increased risk of Alzheimer’s

Never take Tylenol after drinking alcohol. It’s a deadly combo for your liver and your kidneys.

“Acetaminophen temporarily inhibits our body’s ability to process toxins, depleting glutathione levels resulting essentially in a toxic wash of the body, including the brain.” —William Parker, Ph.D., an expert on immunology and an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center

Sleep. When taken prior to sleep, NSAIDs, ibuprofen and aspirin disrupt sleep by increasing the number of awakenings and time spent awake, delayed the onset of deep sleep, and decreased sleep efficiency. [Physiology & Behavior. June 1994.]

Acetaminophen and Heart Health. A study in the journal Lancet found that people who take high daily doses of NSAIDs increase their cardiovascular risk by 33%!

A study in the European Heart Journal—Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy reported that Ibuprofen use increases risk of cardiac arrest by a whopping 31%!

Another study in the journal Circulation found that for people who had one heart attack, taking NSAIDs increased their risk of death by nearly 60% and risk of a second heart attack by 30%!

Acetaminophen and Pregnancy. Fetal exposure to acetaminophen (Tylenol) increases risk of neuro-developmental problems and endocrine disruption. Acetaminophen use is linked to emotional and behavior problems, ADHD and autism if used during pregnancy.

  • A study at UCLA in collaboration with scientists in Denmark and Taiwan found that use of acetaminophen during pregnancy is associated with ADHD.
  • Another study published in the Journal of Restorative Medicine found evidence that increased acetaminophen use in children appears to be a major cause of the epidemics of autism, ADHD and asthma. In Cuba, Tylenol is a prescription only drug. Could it be possible that the low rates of autism in Cuba are due to restricted Tylenol use?
  • Findings published in 2016 revealed use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy were associated with a 42% higher risk of behavioral problems and a 31% higher risk of hyperactivity symptoms in the child. [JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(10):964-970]
  • Another 2016 investigation found children whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 41% more likely to present with ADHD symptoms at age 5. Boys were also more likely to have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • A 2019 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that compared to children of mothers with the lowest acetaminophen burden, children of mothers with the greatest exposure had a 286% higher risk for ADHD and a 362% higher risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the time they were about 9 years old.

Never give acetaminophen-containing medications to your child or take it while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Never allow medical personnel administer acetaminophen (Tylenol) to your child either. It’s the ‘go-to drug’ for many things from circumcision to vaccination in many clinics and hospitals around the world.

Acetaminophen and Arthritis. A study in the journal Lancet reported that Paracetamol (Tylenol) is ‘not clinically effective’ in treating osteoarthritis pain or improving physical function.

If you take just one NSAID such as Motrin, Datril, Anacin or Ibuprofen every four days over your lifetime, there is nine times the normal risk for vital organ damage. –New England Journal of Medicine, 1994

Side Effects of Aspirin

Americans consume 15 tons of aspirin a day – that’s 19 billion tablets per year! Although thought to be harmless, a single aspirin will be responsible for 1500-2000 deaths!

  • Aspirin decreases kidney function and is a leading cause of kidney disease
  • Causes ulcers
  • Increases uric acid levels, a marker for systemic inflammation
  • Toxic headaches
  • Leads to hearing loss
  • Macular degeneration
  • Reye’s Syndrome
  • GI bleeding. A study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology reported that even low-dose aspirin (as low as 75mg daily and up to 325mg daily) increases the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. It also increases the risk of micro-bleeding in the brain by 70%.

“The side effects of aspirin use for heart disease are far greater than the benefits, especially for women.” –Dr. Jack Wolfson, Paleo Cardiologist

Healthier Drug-free Alternatives for Pain and Inflammation

  • Anti-inflammatory organic foods. Ditch the inflammatory grains, gluten, sugar, seed oils, and rancid frankenfoods. Stop eating chemicals!
  • Stay hydrated with clean, filtered water
  • High-quality omega-3 fish oil that are free of heavy metals, soybean oil and toxins
  • Turmeric (curcumin). A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found 2,000mg of turmeric extract was as effective as 800mg of ibuprofen in reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation.
  • Bosweilia, frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Arnica (topical and sublingual)
  • Proteolytic enzymes
  • Alternative natural therapies such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, ozone therapy, cold water immersion, cryotherapy
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC). In acetaminophen overdose, the liver’s levels of glutathione are completely depleted, quickly leading to liver failure. NAC is the standard of care in cases of acetaminophen overdose as an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity, FDA approved in 1985.

If you take NSAIDs for any reason, it’s crucial to protect your stomach and intestinal lining. If you don’t, you’re going to struggle from stomach discomfort, ulcers, poor absorption of nutrients, and infiltration of bad bacteria such as H pylori.

If you must take Ibuprofen for a few days because you’re in pain, protect and prevent your gut from getting destroyed with evidence-based nutritional support like glutamine powder and GI Resolve. GI Resolve has added glutamine for gut healing, but some people don’t do well with glutamine. They become irritable, anxious or insomniac. Take small amounts over a period of time between or before meals. Don’t take within 5 hours of sleep.

When dealing with chronic pain and inflammation, it’s crucial to identify the root cause and utilize natural, drug-free therapies and healthy dose of lifestyle medicine.

How to Heal Injuries Faster

Healthier Alternatives for Pain and Inflammation

Learn more!