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Anti-inflammatory drugs can inhibit muscle growth

A new study suggests the long-term use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can inhibit muscle growth in young athletes who lift weights.

“The results are extremely interesting since the use of anti-inflammatory drugs is so globally widespread, not least amongst elite athletes and recreationally active individuals,” said researcher Tommy Lundberg of the Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Laboratory Medicine in Sweden.

Healthy men and women, aged between 18 and 35 were assigned to two groups. One group took a high dosage of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and the other a low dose every day for a period of eight weeks. During the same period, participants engaged in supervised weight training regimen two to three times a week. Certain variables such as muscle growth, muscle strength and anti-inflammatory markers were measured by the researchers. After eight weeks the increase in muscle volume was twice as large in the low dose group as in the high dose group.

“Our results suggest that young people who do weight training to increase their muscle mass should avoid regular high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs,” Lundberg stated.

The results partly contradict studies performed in older individuals, which have indicated that anti-inflammatory drugs can protect against age-related muscle-mass loss. The researchers think, therefore, that the mechanism regulating muscle mass differs between the old and the young weight lifters.

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