Aims: This study tested the hypothesis that high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs would attenuate the adaptive response to resistance training compared with low doses.
Methods: Healthy men and women (aged 18-35 years) were randomly assigned to daily consumption of ibuprofen (IBU; 1200 mg; n = 15) or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA; 75 mg; n = 16) for 8 weeks. During this period, subjects completed supervised knee-extensor resistance training where one leg was subjected to training with maximal volitional effort in each repetition using a flywheel ergometer (FW), while the other leg performed conventional (work-matched across groups) weight-stack training (WS). Before and after training, muscle volume (MRI) and strength were assessed, and muscle biopsies were analysed for gene and protein expression of muscle growth regulators.
Results: The increase in m. quadriceps volume was similar between FW and WS, yet was (averaged across legs) greater in ASA (7.5%) compared with IBU (3.7%, group difference 34 cm3 ; P = 0.029). In the WS leg, muscle strength improved similarly (11-20%) across groups. In the FW leg, increases (10-23%) in muscle strength were evident in both groups yet they were generally greater (interaction effects P < 0.05) for ASA compared with IBU. While our molecular analysis revealed several training effects, the only group interaction (P < 0.0001) arose from a downregulated mRNA expression of IL-6 in IBU.
Conclusion: Maximal over-the-counter doses of ibuprofen attenuate strength and muscle hypertrophic adaptations to 8 weeks of resistance training in young adults. Thus, young individuals using resistance training to maximize muscle growth or strength should avoid excessive intake of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Keywords: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; clinical trial; inflammation; muscle hypertrophy; skeletal muscle; strength training.
© 2017 Scandinavian Physiological Society. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.