People manufacture their own aspirin

December 23rd, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 23 (IANS) Researchers have come up with new evidence that humans can make their own salicylic acid (SA), the material formed when aspirin breaks down in the body. SA, which is responsible for aspirin’s renowned effects in relieving pain and inflammation, may be the first in a new class of bioregulators, according to a new study.

Gwendoline Baxter of the British National Health Service (NHS) R&D and her colleagues discussed how their past research revealed that SA exists in the blood of people who have not recently taken aspirin.

Vegetarians had much higher levels, almost matching those in patients taking low doses of aspirin. Based on those findings, they previously concluded that this endogenous SA came from the diet, since SA is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables.

Now the group reported on studies of changes in SA levels in volunteers who took benzoic acid, a substance also found naturally in fruits and vegetables that the body could potentially use to make SA, said a NHS release.

The study appears in the Wednesday issue of the biweekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Their goal was to determine whether the SA found in humans (and other animals) results solely from consumption of fruits and vegetables, or whether humans produce their own SA as a natural agent to fight inflammation and disease.

“It is, we suspect, increasingly likely that SA is a biopharmaceutical with a central, broadly defensive role in animals as well as plants,” they state. “This simple organic chemical is, we propose, likely to become increasingly recognized as an animal bioregulator, perhaps in a class of its own,” said Baxter.

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