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The research

A recent US study wanted to measure the effects of over the counter painkillers on athletes. They therefore took three groups and had them perform knee exercises to exhaustion. After working out, the three groups received either Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or a placebo.

Blood was then subsequently taken from each subject and analyzed. The results were quite startling. It was found that:

  • Muscle soreness was unaffected by either of the pain killers.
  • Both drugs reduced protein synthesis and concentrations of prostaglandin f2a (a lipid compound positively implicated in muscle growth).
The researchers concluded that not only are these drugs ineffective at reducing muscle soreness, but they impair muscle growth.

These findings are quite startling! If you are regularly taking painkillers after a workout because of muscle soreness, consider this:
  • They don't actually reduce muscle soreness
  • They will inhibit muscle growth
  • You will be susceptible to the various side effects of the painkillers (for example, stomach problems are very common with prolonged use of Ibuprofen)
  • You are wasting your money!
Bottom line? Save the painkillers for when you really need them, and you may just find that your muscle growth increases.

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