Want to gain some muscle? Beware of ibuprofen, study says

If you’re looking to bulk up, there’s one common drug that could be stunting your progress: ibuprofen. Anti-inflammatory medicine can inhibit muscle growth, according to a new study.

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Swedish researchers from Karolinska Institutet, conducted an experiment, which was recently published in Acta Physiologica, to determine how the over-the-counter pill affects weight training.

To do so, they randomly assigned healthy men and women, ages 18 to 35, to two different groups. Every day for eight weeks, individuals in the first group took 1,200 milligrams of of ibuprofen, which is a normal 24-hour dose, and participants in the second one took 75 milligrams of aspirin.

During the eight-week period, they also worked out two to three times a week, performing exercises that specifically targeted the thighs.

After analyzing the results, researchers found that the increase in muscle volume was twice as large for those who had a lower dose than those who had a higher dose. They also learned that muscle strength was impaired for the high-dosage group.

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"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," lead researcher Tommy Lundberg said in a statement. "We chose to look at the effect of ibuprofen as it is the most well-studied anti-inflammatory drug on the market."

Scientists did note that their study only focused on younger age groups and investigating older groups may present other variables such as differences in muscle mass.

However, Lundberg said, “young people who do weight training to increase their muscle mass should avoid regular high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs” and that other over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may have similar effects as ibuprofen.

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