Swedish researchers have found that regularly taking anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) can inhibit muscle growth.
The study, carried out by the Karolinska Institutet, looked into the effects of ibuprofen on the skeletal muscles of young, healthy adults engaging in weight training.
Participants - all of whom were aged between 18 and 35 - were randomly split into two groups.
Half were told to take a relatively high dose of ibuprofen (1,200 mg, which is a normal 24-hour dose) and the others a lower dose of aspirin (75 mg) every day for eight weeks.
At the same time, the participants took part in weight-training exercises specifically designed to work the thighs two to three times a week.
After the eight weeks were up, the researchers measured certain variables including muscle growth, muscle strength and anti-inflammatory markers in the muscles.
They found that the muscles of those in the low dose aspirin group had increased in size twice as much as those who’d taken the ibuprofen.
They also found that muscle strength was harmed by high doses of ibuprofen but not to the same extent as growth.
“The results are extremely interesting since the use of anti-inflammatory drugs is so globally widespread, not least amongst elite athletes and recreationally active individuals,” said principal investigator Tommy Lundberg, researcher at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Laboratory Medicine.
Lundberg adds that they chose to study the effect of ibuprofen as it is the most well-studied anti-inflammatory drug on the market, but they believe that high doses of all types of over-the-counter non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will have similar effects.
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