The Impact of Ibuprofen on the Human Body: Explained and Explored

In this video, the host discusses the effects of ibuprofen on the human body. Ibuprofen, classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), is commonly used as a pain reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammatory. It works by inhibiting enzymes that produce prostaglandins, which are involved in inflammation, pain, fever, and other physiological processes. While ibuprofen is generally safe for the liver, it can cause stomach irritation by reducing the amount of protective mucus. It can also affect kidney function by constricting blood vessels in the renal cortex. The video emphasizes the importance of considering the pros and cons of ibuprofen use and discussing individual health conditions with a healthcare professional.

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Key Insights:

  • Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used as a pain reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammatory.
  • Prostaglandins, which are produced by enzymes called cox-1 and cox-2, play a crucial role in inflammation, pain, fever regulation, uterine contractions, blood flow, and stomach lining protection.
  • Ibuprofen works by inhibiting the cox enzymes, reducing the production of prostaglandins, and subsequently reducing inflammation, pain, fever, and other symptoms.
  • The absorption process of ibuprofen starts in the stomach, where the tablet dissolves and releases its active ingredients; the majority of absorption occurs in the small intestine.
  • Although ibuprofen can pass through the liver during the metabolism process, it is generally safe for the liver.
  • Ibuprofen can irritate the stomach by reducing the production of mucus, which protects the stomach lining from acid; prolonged use or certain conditions may increase the risk of stomach issues.
  • The vasoconstrictive effect of ibuprofen on kidney blood vessels poses a concern for individuals with kidney disease or those taking ibuprofen daily for an extended period.
  • Considerations such as kidney function, hydration, and individual medical history should be taken into account when using ibuprofen.
  • Starting with the lowest therapeutic dose and gradually increasing is a recommended approach when taking ibuprofen or any medication.
  • Brilliant, an interactive online learning platform, offers courses on STEM subjects and can help improve problem-solving skills and scientific thinking.


This video is sponsored by Brilliant. Find the link in the description below.

What does ibuprofen or medications like it do to the human body? This is a very common medication that many people have probably used for things like pain, inflammation, fever, or even period cramps. But could this medication cause any harm or potential side effects? Maybe you’ve heard it could affect the liver, the stomach, or other organs throughout the body.

In this video, we’re going to take a look at those organs by utilizing the bodies behind me and talk about how this medication works on you. So let’s do this.

So, let’s start by getting the medication into the various digestive system structures so it can be absorbed into the body. Ibuprofen, commonly known as Advil or Motrin, is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is commonly used as a pain reliever, fever reducer, and anti-inflammatory. There are other NSAIDs available, like Aleve or naproxen, but ibuprofen is one of the most commonly used.

To understand how ibuprofen gets absorbed, we need to trace its journey in the body. We start by putting the pill in the oral cavity, then it quickly moves down the pharynx and into the esophagus. From there, it reaches the stomach.

In the stomach, the pill mixes with gastric juices, including stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and stomach mucus. The tablet dissolves, and its active ingredients are released to be absorbed. Some of it can be absorbed into the stomach lining, but the majority passes into the small intestine, where most of the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream. This process usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Once in the bloodstream, the medication is distributed throughout the body, allowing it to take effect. Ibuprofen works by inhibiting certain enzymes called cyclooxygenase 1 and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-1 and COX-2). These enzymes are involved in synthesizing substances called prostaglandins, which play a role in inflammation, pain, fever, menstrual cramps, blood flow regulation, and stomach lining protection.

By inhibiting these enzymes, ibuprofen reduces the number of prostaglandins circulating in the body, thus helping to reduce inflammation, pain, fever, and menstrual cramping. Different strengths and types of NSAIDs follow a similar mechanism of action.

Now, let’s discuss the potential side effects of ibuprofen on different organs. Starting with the liver, ibuprofen is generally safe for the liver. The liver metabolizes drugs and medications, including ibuprofen, converting them into inactive forms or metabolites. However, in some cases, ibuprofen can cause harm to the liver, although it is relatively safe for most people.

Moving on to the stomach, the protective mucus lining is essential for preventing irritation from stomach acid. Ibuprofen, by reducing the amount of prostaglandins involved in producing mucus and regulating stomach acid, can thin out the protective barrier and potentially cause stomach irritation. This is a more significant concern for individuals who take ibuprofen regularly or have a history of gastritis or peptic ulcer disease.

When it comes to the kidneys, ibuprofen does not directly cause harm during the filtration process. However, ibuprofen’s effect on prostaglandin synthesis can lead to vasoconstriction in the tiny blood vessels of the renal cortex, reducing their ability to vasodilate. This vasoconstrictive effect can exacerbate kidney problems for individuals with pre-existing kidney disease. For occasional use and properly hydrated individuals, this effect is usually not a concern.

When considering ibuprofen’s potential side effects, a pros-versus-cons analysis is necessary. For most people using ibuprofen occasionally or for short periods, the benefits outweigh the risks. However, for individuals with chronic conditions, history of gastritis, or kidney disease, alternative pain medications may be more suitable.

In conclusion, ibuprofen can be an effective medication for managing pain, inflammation, fever, and menstrual cramps. However, it is essential to understand and consider its potential side effects, especially for individuals with specific health conditions. Remember to start with the lowest therapeutic dose and titrate up slowly to achieve the desired effect.

This video was sponsored by Brilliant. Brilliant is an online learning platform that offers interactive courses in math, logic, science, and computer science. If you enjoy problem-solving and applying knowledge, you may find their courses interesting. For the first 200 people, Brilliant is offering a discount on their yearly subscription. Check the link in the description for more information.