Thursday, April 05, 2007

Science Recap of Use of Ibuprofen in Endurance Events (InsideTri)

Dr. Bob Seebohar, a Sports Dietician for the US Olympic Training Center, wrote a great recap of over a decade of studies about the use of ibuprofen during and prior to endurance events for Inside Triathlon. I found the conclusions to be surprising - not only was ibuprofen ineffective at reducing swelling, tissue damage, and perceived stress, but it also could mess with your kidneys ability to process fluids when taken in large doses, increasing the chance of dehydration and renal failure. In a nutshell, ibuprofen may do just the opposite of what endurance athletes want!

Here's an excerpt regarding a study around the Western States 100:
What about the effects of NSAIDs on athletic populations? Neiman et al. measured the influence of ibuprofen use during the 100 mile Western States trail running race. Athletes were placed in a control group, a group consuming 600mg and 1200 mg ibuprofen the day before the race and on race day. The groups who used Ibuprofen had higher plasma levels of many muscle damage markers including serum C-reactive protein, plasma cytokine and macrophage inflammatory protein. Delayed onset-muscle soreness and serum creatine kinase levels did not differ significantly. Interestingly, race times and rates of perceived exertion did not differ among groups. This study concluded that ibuprofen use compared to nonuse by athletes did not alter muscle damage or soreness and was related to elevated indicators of inflammation-the exact opposite reason that athletes take NSAIDs in the first place!
Wild, huh? Be sure to check out the whole article.

- SD


  1. I'm not so sure about the "lack of percieved pain". I can definitely feel that an Advil every 20 miles takes the edge off. I've run without it too, and it's much easier to run with it.

    I can understand that you shouldn't take this to the extreme, but a few here and there can be beneficial.


  2. I can vouch for the adverse effects. At Boston 4 years ago, 800 mg of ibuprofen (prescribed) caused dehydration, severe leg cramps and eventually renal failure that sent me to the hospital that evening. I did finish, though :)

  3. Vit I can also cause (and did for so many that year at WS) to stomach distress and diarrhea. I was one fo that group, I should know:) And it does little to no effect for me on pain (unlike Excedrin). But it works on minor aches at home.

  4. I thought about your blog post regarding the NSAIDS report you read after I saw a commercial for Excedrin's NEW pain reliever called Excedrin: Back & Body. It boasts a pain reliever AND (this perked up my ears) A PAIN BLOCKER. But if Buffered Aspirin is their pain blocker, then this just may be a marketing ploy.


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