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How painkillers can interfere with muscle growth

Painkillers are a regular part of training for many athletes. But are they effective? And worse yet, can they actually be damaging your performance? We take a look at what happens when you pop those little pills.

For many athletes it's as much a part of their routine as warming up and cooling down - you workout, you get sore, you take painkillers - usually Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

However, recent research suggests that not only are these painkillers ineffective at reducing soreness and inflammation post-exercise, they may actually inhibit muscle growth.

Without getting too technical, muscle growth is dependant on the balance between protein synthesis and muscle breakdown. The breakdown is caused by your workouts, but for it to help create new muscle, it needs to be followed by a process of protein synthesis.

If the synthesis of new muscle protein is greater than the breakdown of muscle protein, you can expect net gains in muscle mass. But if you stop protein synthesis, you could be wasting a lot of effort - you simply won't grow.

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