More Research On Effects of Exercise and NSAID Medications
Millions of Americans take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) every day. Many use these over the counter drugs to reduce the discomfort / pain of fitness activities. Big Pharma marketing makes the use of these chemicals look harmless. In the commercial, the lady pops three pills and glides effortlessly through her run. The basketball player takes his gel capsules and bounds through the game with his buddies. Most of us view these drugs as harmless and beneficial. Ongoing studies have shown that the use of NSAIDs as a pre-exercise activity preparation can limit your muscle recovery and damage your internal organs. A recent New York Times *article by Gretchen Reynolds should scare everyone away from medicating with NSAIDs prior to a training session.
Exercise induced inflammation is a critical biochemical process that helps us recover from a bout of training. You do not get fitter while training, you get fitter during recovery from a bout of exercise. The inflammatory biochemicals that make you sore and stiff after a vigorous exercise session are called prostaglandins. NSAIDs work by interrupting the chemical assembly line that makes various prostaglandins. No prostaglandin production means you have no delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so you feel better. Prostaglandins are the chemical signal that tells your muscle cells to get busy repairing and reinforcing your skeletal muscle cells. No prostaglandins, no beneficial adaptation during recovery. Take a NSAID before training and it’s like you never exercised at all.
Prostaglandin production creates vasodilation– more blood can get where it needs to go during a session of exercise. The studies cited in the New York Times article have demonstrated that inhibited prostaglandin production creates diminished blood flow to your kidneys. Limited kidney function dramatically blunts progress toward all fitness goals. It is very difficult to run further, get stronger, or become leaner while undergoing dialysis.
Take the time to read the article by Gretchen Reynolds and rethink that pre-exercise NSAID protocol. You can view the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/well/move/bring-on-the-exercise-hold-the-painkillers.html?
*Bring On the Exercise, Hold the Painkillers, Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, July 5, 2017
Barbara O’Hara, RPh.