When Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) popped a magic pill in last year’s “Limitless,” he could have been taking plain ol’ aspirin and still have seen fantastic results. That little tablet of acetylsalicylic acid has health benefits far beyond its pain-squelching powers: It reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke (we say, take two baby aspirins, 88 milligrams each, every day, always with a stomach-protecting half-glass of warm water before and after); increases fat-burning; decreases fatty liver; protects against breast, colon, esophageal, prostate and ovarian cancers; and cuts your risk of dying from those cancers significantly.
And now, this most ancient of drugs (seems Egyptians used willow bark — it contains aspirin’s active ingredient — as a therapy for all sorts of aches and pains) is being tested as a 21st-century targeted cancer therapy. People with colon cancer and a genetic mutation (in their PIK3CA gene) who take aspirin daily can slash their risk of death from colon cancer by an astounding 82 percent.
About 17 percent of people with colon cancer have this mutated gene, so aspirin may save thousands of lives. Just remember, if you’re taking aspirin to fight off colon cancer, don’t follow the every-other-day regimen sometimes recommended for heart health (theoretically, that can spare you stomach problems). To win this war (and you can), you want aspirin’s benefits every day, but don’t forget that half-glass of warm water before and after!
The You Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic — are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.