Ibuprofen and exercise

Are you one of those people who pop a few ibuprofen before every run or race?  If so, STOP and read this.

A new study shows that taking ibuprofen or similar anti-inflammatory before a workout offers no benefits to decreasing muscle soreness and may be causing physical damage to your intestines.   Research shows that during strenuous exercise there is a small amount of intestinal trauma.    This makes sense because when you exercise blood is drawn away from the internal organs to the muscles, which causes some of the cells in the intestines to leak fluid.  This trauma appears to resolve within one hour of exercise completion, however, in this study, cyclists who took ibuprofen before riding a stationary bike had much higher blood levels of a protein indicating intestinal leakage and the levels remained elevated for several hours.

This means that bacteria and digestive enzymes may enter the bloodstream via the leaking cells.  A previous study involving the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run found that regular ibuprofen users had small amounts of colonic bacteria in their bloodstream, which resulted in “higher levels of systemic inflammation.”  The real kicker is that athletes who took ibuprofen prior to the race reported being just as sore as those who didn’t take any.

For more information on the study click here:


Are you going to keep popping those ibuprofens now?

About Sarah Schultz

Sarah is a Licensed Athletic Trainer at Sports, Spine and Work Center. She provides Athletic Training services at Campbellsport High School and provides Industrial Services to the community through WorkSTEPS testing, the Work Hardening Program and doing ergonomic evaluations. She is an avid cyclist and barefoot runner. Sarah’s other interests include dynamic stretching, core strengthening, rehabilitation, muscle recovery techniques, and sports nutrition.

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  1. Benefits of that food that might surprise you | In Good Health - July 7, 2013

    […] Tea: Remember the blog I wrote on the dangers of ibuprofen use during exercise (http://ingoodhealthfdl.agnesian.com/2012/12/23/ibuprofen-and-exercise/)?  There are foods that have anti-inflammatory properties that are much easier on your gut versus […]

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