How does ibuprofen work?
"Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs achieve their effects through inhibition of an enzyme named cyclooxygenase (COX), and this COX enzyme is responsible for the production of substances such as prostaglandins, prostacyclins, and thromboxanes," says Dr. Linder. These play a key role in normal cellular functions. In the short term, the use of ibuprofen is beneficial due to its ability to limit the production of these types of substances that can cause inflammation and pain.
An insider's tip: when taking ibuprofen, take it with turmeric or curcumin to maximize those immediate benefits. "I encourage my patients who take ibuprofen to take it with a curcumin supplement and lots of water, which also rapidly improves inflammation," explains Atlanta-based integrative medicine physician Dr. Bindiya Gandhi, MD, to POPSUGAR.
What's more, "the curcumin also protects the GI tract while taking the meds, and staying hydrated protects the kidneys," she says. Win-win.
However, the effects of ibuprofen are not specific to any singular tissue type, says Dr. Linder, so long-term intake or overuse can lead to gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and renal systems complications.