Tylenol – Acetaminophen – Paracetamol
This question comes up over and over again… doctors and parents across the country for decades have considered Tylenol safe, and it has been recommended for almost every ailment an infant or child may suffer from. But what if the newest evidence is showing that it isn’t as safe as we were led to believe?
This article written by an investigative journalist does an impressive job of covering the Tylenol safety concerns (the article is worth a full read, not just my cliffs notes):
Acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure. Laboratory studies show acetaminophen causes cell death. Epidemiological studies link this drug to attention disorders and autism. Taken together, a growing body of scientific literature shows that pregnant women, infants, and small children should stay far, far away from acetaminophen.
In another study of over 64,000 pregnant women in Denmark, the use of acetaminophen in pregnancy was linked to higher risks of severe attention deficit disorders in their children. The longer they used the acetaminophen, the higher the risk of behavioral and brain problems.
It’s becoming more apparent that Tylenol was given its status as a staple in our medicine cabinets prematurely, before proper evidence for its safety and side effects could be established. Especially for use with vaccinations.
Tylenol Decreases Immunity to Illnesses
This CBS report discusses how if this over-the-counter medication is given alongside vaccinations, decreased antibodies are made, thus decreasing any long-term immunity that may be gained from the vaccine (study source). There is plenty of speculation in this particular article, but there are studies to support the claim that the goal of immunity from illness is compromised when Tylenol is given.
Although febrile reactions significantly decreased, prophylactic administration of antipyretic drugs at the time of vaccination should not be routinely recommended since antibody responses to several vaccine antigens were reduced. (Study)
[Over-simplified translation: Febrile seizures decreased when fever reducers were given before vaccination. However, Tylenol should not be given alongside vaccines under normal circumstances because it decreases the body’s ability to create immunity.] This conclusion could be applied to naturally-acquired illnesses as well, but more studies need to be done to know for sure.
In the meantime, my family no longer takes Tylenol for natural illnesses either. We’ve removed it from our home completely.
Tylenol Depletes Glutathione, Necessary for Detoxification
The Huffington Post ran an article that raved about Glutathione, the “most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease.” Glutathione is part of your body’s detoxification system (called the Methylation Pathway) which helps remove toxins such as pesticides consumed from produce, and flame retardants inhaled from furniture off-gassing. Glutathione also assists the immune system. Tylenol depletes (uses up) Glutathione, resulting in a decreased ability to detox. In the case of vaccination, the ability to remove such ingredients as aluminum and formaldehyde become compromised.
Some people have naturally low Glutathione levels (thank you genetics!), so their bodies are already struggling to keep Glutathione levels up. Science has not yet pinpointed which individuals would be most at-risk, but there is good reason to believe that those with MTHFR and other methyation-related genes would be at greater risk. A New York Times article that discussed risks of taking Tylenol while pregnant had this to say:
There’s evidence that the drug interacts more strongly with certain genotypes. Some of us carry gene variants that naturally alter the activity of the antioxidant glutathione, reducing its ability to detoxify. A 2010 study by Columbia University scientists found that, at age 5, the children with this variant, whose mothers had taken acetaminophen while pregnant, had double the risk of wheezing compared with children without the gene. In fact, without the gene, children had no increased risk of wheezing. So perhaps only a subset of people are vulnerable to the drug’s harmful effects. Petra Arck, a professor of fetal-maternal medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, and colleagues gave the pain reliever to pregnant mice, and found it stressed the liver, altered the placenta and increased the pups’ vulnerability to wheezing.
Tylenol and Vaccine Reactions
If you give your child Tylenol after vaccination, will they suffer a worse reaction? The answer is… maybe. The science is not conclusive because there are too many variables that make each individual and their current ever-changing situation unique. To make matters more difficult to determine, genes responsible for glutathione and other detox pathways can turn on and off through environmental triggers (such as vaccines, known to turn on and off gene mutations). This is called epigenetics. This study correlates the rise of autism with the rise in acetaminophen use, which may be, if only in part, correct. Another study states Tylenol is linked to the onset of autism and asthma:
There is strong epidemiological evidence that acetaminophen use in late pregnancy and/or in the first year of life increases the risk of subsequently acquiring childhood asthma and related allergic disorders. This may be due to direct effects on immunological pathways or secondary effects such as through alterations in blood serotonin, glutathione, or transsulfuration. Fever has been shown to have a modifying effect on behaviors in autism, and acetaminophen is widely used to treat childhood fever as well as symptoms associated with childhood infections and childhood vaccines. Acetaminophen use has been shown to be associated with autism in a preliminary study63.
It is proposed that widespread use of acetaminophen in late pregnancy or early childhood may significantly alter subtle immune processes, through direct or indirect mechanisms, increasing the risk for autism. It is suggested that a large scale population based epidemiological study be conducted to determine the role, if any, of acetaminophen in the risk for autism. (source)
While many leading autism experts can explain Tylenol’s role in decreasing Glutathione, the complete mechanism is unclear. We do know that when a child is given Tylenol following MMR vaccination, there is a significant relationship to Regressive Autism that was not present in those given ibuprofen / Motrin (study source here).
And what we find is that it takes many years before a scientific finding’s results will trickle down to the pediatricians. One paper stated it takes 15 years for information to get from the published studies to becoming generally accepted information in the pediatricians’ offices.
Experts know that 98% of autistic kids all have one thing in common: an inability to properly detox heavy metals (study). Scientists are now learning that Tylenol deplete glutathione, necessary to detox vaccine ingredients. And they are also beginning to learn that Tylenol decreases antibody reactions, which means lowered immunity to illness. What other disastrous effects might Tylenol contribute to other than liver damage, autism and asthma? The science is still out… and ever-changing.
NY Times: The Trouble with Tylenol and Pregnancy
Excellent Article on Acetamenophen and Safety – by Jennifer Margulis, PhD
CBS News discusses Risks of Acetamenophen Use
This is an interesting article with a compilation of studies showing that Tylenol is not as safe as its mainstream reputation suggests.
This study sums that when a child was given Tylenol following MMR vaccination, there was a significant relationship to Regressive Autism. This relationship was not present in those given ibuprofen (aka Motrin).
Tylenol during Pregnancy increases Hyperactivity in Child
Tylenol, MMR and Autism – A parent survey study
Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/14/11/2227
This study shows that uncircumcised males were less likely than circumcised males to develop autism, which researchers believe is due to pain relief methods.