Did the Scourge of Pain Medications Contribute to Eagles Singer Glenn Frey’s Death?

by Douglas A. Wyatt

The Eagles’ manager, Irving Azoff, seems to think so. Mr. Azoff was quoted as saying, "He died from complications of ulcer and colitis after being treated with drugs for his rheumatoid arthritis, which he had for over 15 years. The colitis and pneumonia were side effects from all the meds."

Two factors are at play in this unfortunate situation. First, the medications prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or ulcerative colitis compromise the immune system’s normal function of fighting off viral and bacterial pathogens, such as pneumonia. Second, and more importantly, is the pain medications’ destructive action in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pain medications cause bleeding and holes in the stomach and in the intestinal lining. The holes are commonly referred to as intestinal permeability or leaky gut. The intestinal contents are essentially leaking into the bloodstream. Undigested foods, proteins, and toxins entering the bloodstream cause a massive immune response and inflammation. Chronic use of pain medications puts people on the path to leaky gut syndrome, chronic inflammation, and ensuing autoimmune conditions, including arthritis and colitis.

A hundred million Americans suffer from chronic pain, which equates to approximately half of the adult population, and take pain meds on a long-term basis. If you could ask how many of them also suffer from an autoimmune condition, the number would be equally as high. We know that the risk of death in people taking NSAIDs for more than two months is 1 in 1,200. We also know that abdominal pain is the most common GI symptom that prompts a visit to the doctor, and in an effort to relieve that pain, physicians prescribe steroids which further exacerbate the destruction of GI tissue.

There’s no consumer warning label on OTC pain relievers that says “Extended use causes leaky gut syndrome.” Medical schools aren’t teaching physicians about the GI dangers of chronic use of OTC and prescription pain medications, so when doctors write a prescription for pain meds, they’re unaware that they’re writing a prescription for leaky gut syndrome. Pain medication is the most utilized drug category in the U.S. and also the most abused, followed closely by GI drugs. It’s not surprising at all, since the two are interconnected in a vicious cycle of leaky gut syndrome. The first creates the problem, and the second masks and exacerbates the problem. In the end, it is the patient who suffers.

It is quite amazing to hear a lay person make such an accurate and strong statement about pain medications. Mr. Azoff is absolutely correct, and I hope his words will resonate with people who are popping pain pills and thereby, unknowingly putting themselves at risk for debilitating health conditions.

On a more positive note, we do have a medicinal food that can heal and prevent leaky gut syndrome – colostrum. Colostrum contains growth and immune factors which address the two factors mentioned above. Colostrum was designed to prevent infections originating in the bowel, to close the leaky gut, and to prevent opportunistic infections from taking over and causing or exacerbating leaky gut syndrome. For individuals who already have an autoimmune condition, colostrum is absolutely essential to the healing process. Unless a permeable gut is healed, the body cannot begin to repair the damage caused by inflammation. As healing begins, the amount of toxins dumped into the bloodstream will decline, nutritional uptake will improve, the cells will have better access to the fuel they need to for repair and replication, organ function will improve, and energy levels will increase. In a patient with RA or any other chronic pain condition, consistent use of colostrum will improve symptoms. As inflammation subsides, the pain, swelling, and tenderness will dissipate.

Healing a leaky gut requires “clean living”.

Autoimmune conditions cause premature death and reduce quality of life. Colostrum is our best defense against leaky gut and the diseases it causes/contributes to, but it can’t do much good if the causes of leaky gut are perpetuated. The primary lifestyle factors detrimental to the gut lining include:

  • Taking oral antibiotics
  • Eating meat from animals injected with antibiotics (beef, chicken, pork)
  • Drinking water contaminated with antibiotics
  • Taking NSAIDs and other prescription pain medications
  • Taking corticosteroids
  • Eating GMO and pesticide-laden foods
  • Consuming alcohol excessively
  • Drinking acidic beverages
  • Eating a highly refined carbohydrate diet

If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic pain or an autoimmune condition, learn more:

Leaky Gut Syndrome: A Modern Epidemic with an Ancient Solution?

Bovine Colostrum & Chronic Pain: The Natural Way to Achieve Lasting Relief