Ibuprofen can seriously slow your muscle gains

For anyone working hard to put on muscle in the gym, taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen can seriously hinder your gains. A new study from Sweden’s Karolinksa Instituet found that doses of the painkillers slow down muscle growth.

Ibuprofen — a painkiller and anti-inflammatory — is one of the most widely consumed drugs in the world. In Australia ibuprofen is also known as Advil, Bugesic, Herron Blue, Nurofen and Panafen. While useful for treating inflammation-related pain, regular doses should be avoided if you’re trying to grow your muscle mass.

The study discovered that volunteers given ibuprofen when undertaking a eight-week weight training program only grew half as much muscle mass as those taking an aspirin tablet. The asprin group also had stronger muscles.

The ibuprofen actively inhibited the markers for inflammation in the muscles, showing that the drug interfered with the muscle’s healing process, preventing them from growing.

And the effects might not only come from ibuprofen — other anti-inflammatories may produce the same results.

“We chose to look at the effect of ibuprofen as it is the most well-studied anti-inflammatory drug on the market,” said study author Dr Tommy Lundberg. “But we believe that high doses of all types of over-the-counter NSAIDs have similar effects.”

The take home message: if you’re trying to bulk up, avoid the anti-inflammatories.