How you could be destroying your kidneys

It's a combination millions of people take each day -- one most people think is safe, and that's if they even stop to think about it at all.

It's a mix of the painkiller acetaminophen and alcohol.

Taken together, the two are like a one-two punch to the kidneys -- and if you take them together regularly, your risk of kidney disease jumps by a staggering123 percent.

This combo is so damaging that nearly half of the people who use both regularly report at least some form of kidney dysfunction, according to the study of more than 10,000 people.

Of course, both acetaminophen and alcohol can damage kidneys on their own, with no help from the other.

But that's a risk that usually comes from abusing one or the other,  not acetaminophen and alcohol.

What makes the new study so frightening is that this jump in risk isn't from abusing alcohol and/or pills. It's from levels that most people would assume is safe and even normal: a moderate booze habit, and regular use of acetaminophen at the levels recommended on the label.

Personally, I think that's reason enough to reconsider both acetaminophen and alcohol either habit.

But it's certainly not the only one.

Alcohol, on its own, can increase the risk of cancer, disrupt sleep and worsen chronic pains, including the pains that drive you to take painkillers -- and that's true even at the "moderate" levels many people believe to be safe.

There's also the very real risk that a "moderate" habit could turn into an addiction.

And acetaminophen has become one of the most problematic drugs on the market today -- one found in everything from painkillers to sleep aids to cold meds.

It's found in so many drugs -- and so many different types of drugs -- that it's shockingly easy to overdose on it, which can damage the liver.

This isn't rare at all. It's so common that acetaminophen overdose is now the leading cause of acute liver failure in the entire nation.

There are better solutions for pain, including safe and natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids as well as nondrug treatments such as acupuncture, cold laser and chiropractic.