Ibuprofen Harms Intestines during Exercise

Ibuprofen Harms Intestines during Exercise

I recently came across this article by my friend Dr. Gabe Mirkin. If you have ever used ibuprofen in conjunction with your weight training, this is a real eye-opener! The article can be found in Gabe Merkin’s newsletter Fitness and Health e-Zine December 30, 2012.



Ibuprofen Harms Intestines during Exercise

A study from the Netherlands shows that taking Ibuprofen before intense exercise increases bleeding from the intestines (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. December 2012). This can interfere with a person’s training program by delaying recovery from intense exercise.

BLOOD TEST MEASURES INTESTINAL DAMAGE: When intestines are damaged, blood leaks from the intestines into the bloodstream.

This can be measured by a blood test called “Intestinal Fatty Acid Binding Protein I-FABP). The author demonstrated that blood levels of I-FABP rise during intense exercise and remain elevated only for up to one hour after a person finishes exercising intensely. This shows that the damaged intestines heal within an hour.

STRENUOUS EXERCISE CAN DAMAGE INTESTINES: Strenuous exercise itself, without Ibuprofen, can damage the intestines. For example, cyclists who rode hard and fast for an hour immediately developed elevated blood levels of I-FABP (PLoS One, July 2011;6(7):e22366).

During intense exercise, large amounts of blood must be pumped to bring oxygen to muscles. The body gets the extra blood by shutting off blood flow to the intestines. The decreased blood flow to the intestines deprives intestinal cells of oxygen and they are damaged and not able to absorb food inside the intestines.
This also explains why intense exercise can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea and gastrointestinal bleeding in some people.

Knowledgeable training for sports is based on a stress-and-recover program. You take a hard workout that is intense enough to cause muscle damage, as evidenced by muscle burning during the workout and soreness eight to 24 hours afterwards. Then you take less intense workouts until the soreness goes away. Then you take your next intense workout.

Skeletal muscles are composed of thousands of muscle fibers. Each fiber is a long rope made up of a series of thousands of similar blocks called sarcomeres, lined end to end to form a long chain. Each block attaches to the next sarcomere at the “Z line”. Muscles function by shortening a little bit at each of the thousands of “Z lines”. The “Z lines” all shorten simultaneously and the entire muscle then can contract. The “Z lines” are where muscles are damaged. It is damage to these “Z lines” that causes muscle growth after healing, which makes muscles stronger.
(For a diagram see http://www.drmirkin.com/public/ezine120912.html )

Muscles recover much faster from intense exercise when you take sugar and protein within one hour after finishing exercise.
Exercise markedly increases sensitivity to insulin for about an hour after you finish exercising. This effect tapers off rapidly after that. Taking sugar causes a rise in insulin. Insulin drives amino acids from protein into muscle cells to help them heal faster.

The intestinal damage caused by Ibuprofen can interfere with absorption of food from the intestines and delay recovery and healing.