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Thread: Interesting information about NSAID use and testosterone production.

  1. #1
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    Interesting information about NSAID use and testosterone production.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/115/4/E...dP2h_gn5Wma_fE

    Long and boring, unless you're into this sort of stuff. The short version is that recent research shows that the use of NSAIDs reduces testosterone production in males.

    I know a lot of people, especially us older lifters, have a tendency to take ibuprofen before training to loosen up, and afterward to manage stiffness. This may not be a good thing.

    A while back I was told by a medical professional that taking NSAID immediately before or after training (8-12 hours either side) prevents proper muscle growth by stopping necessary inflammation that muscles need to grow. I no longer take NSAID unless I absolutely have to in order to function.

    Any way, interesting read.

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    I wouldn't read too much into this piece. The ex vivo and in vitro studies were. . . well. . . ex vivo and in vitro. The in vivo intervention trial did have some interesting results: LH plasma levels and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated and, hence, lower testosterone/LH ratios were correlated with higher ibuprofen plasma levels, THOUGH ibuprofen did not appear to be correlated with higher or lower concentrations of actual free testosterone or its relevant downstream metabolites. In other words -- as I read it (and I'm not necessarily the best reader) -- the impact observed was upon the portion of the endocrine system generally responsible for adrogenic activity in males, not upon the actual absolute levels of testosterone. I'm not saying that the higher LH levels are nothing to be concerned about for the training weightlifter, but exactly how and how much of an impact this might have is not clear (to my feeble mind, at least). The higher LH would seem to indicate (again, to my feeble mind) that the body sees testosterone levels as being too low and is pushing out LH in response. . . but, for whatever reason, that raised LH production is not resulting in higher testosterone levels (hence a period of low testosterone/LH ratios; similar to what happens when one has a viral infection, I believe). However, in this case (and in this study) there does not appear to be a drop in actual testosterone levels through the study period.

    Furthermore, let's look at that study: 31 male volunteers ages 18-35, all white, with inclusion criteria including "does not exercise regularly" and exclusion criteria including "well trained" (these quotes are from the clinicaltrials.gov trial description itself). So a fairly small-N, not necessarily very diverse, and not subject to the same sort of external things that we in this forum experience daily.

    My n-of-one, very anecdotally-informed experience with ibuprofen (and reading of a few clinical studies in athletes) has led me to the following conclusions:
    1. It does inhibit the inflammatory process, a process necessary for "repairing" of stressed tissue (including muscle, tendons, etc.). Studies have shown that athletes taking ibuprofen after an ankle sprain (or similar) can, on average, return to action sooner than those who don't, but that their re-injury rate and ability to apply force to that ankle in the longer term suffers. So, in theory, a similar impact on muscle synthesis / recovery could occur. So, just to be "optimal", if one wants to make sure that their muscles properly recover and "build" (?) after being subject to a heavy day of training, then don't take or minimize ibuprofen ingestion in the 24 hour time period FOLLOWING a WL session.
    2. Ibuprofen has a serum half-life of a bit under 2 hours, and even 800mg (that's like 4 tabs) is going to be gone from your system w/in 20-24 hours of popping it in your mouth. If your JOINTS (i.e. joints & tendons, not muscles, per se) are experiencing some pain or discomfort before a training session, then consider this: would decreasing this joint discomfort for the next 4-6 hours enable me to put more muscular effort into the training session, hence subjecting my muscles to a greater amount of the stimulus required for them to "grow" (or whatever)? If the answer if "yes", then pop 400-600mg of ibuprofen a few minutes before beginning the session, train hard, and consider that any of the inflammation-reducing (and proper/optimal muscle-recovery "inhibiting") effects of taking this drug will be largely muted in the post-training period, especially in the back-half of that recovery (muscle synthesis?) time period occurring 6-20 hours or so after you've finished your session.

    These are my obviously-biased thoughts on ibuprofen use for the older lifter or any lifter with chronic joint pain: the benefits (train with more intensity) would appear to outweigh the costs (interference with the inflammatory-cascade portions of the recovery and muscle synthesis process). Of course, if someone can demonstrate that use of 400-600mg once every 1-2 days significantly impacts testosterone levels to a degree interfering with muscle synthesis or similar, then that might shift the balance. . . and if one is using ibuprofen to mute muscular pain, then my thoughts are to just stop doing that.
    Last edited by mb_here; 01-03-2019 at 09:26 PM.

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    I've read a couple of times now that Ivan Abadjiev wouldn't let his lifters take NSAIDs. It's also suggested that NSAIDs "blunt" growth hormone production (whatever that means exactly) and is a shared opinion in many circles. Another thing to consider is they're really hard on the digestive system.

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    Interesting, when my son was a resident at the OTC, ibuprofen was encouraged. Some were taking as many as 20 a day (4000mg).

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    in 2018 i got off advil. i was taking 10-15 per day to manage back pain. it did horrible things to my gut health, and my t-levels were in the mid 200's, when i was tested in early 2018. getting off has done wonders for me, and i yes i have seen better gains in the gym.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thatmoutain View Post
    in 2018 i got off advil. i was taking 10-15 per day to manage back pain. it did horrible things to my gut health, and my t-levels were in the mid 200's, when i was tested in early 2018. getting off has done wonders for me, and i yes i have seen better gains in the gym.
    Ibuprofen definitely isn't all benefit w/ no risks, but it's "therapeutic window" -- mgs from "effective" to "overdose-toxicity" -- is much wider than, say, acetaminophen. In any case, the tested "top" of that window is around 3200mg / day ("prescription" dose is 800mg; supposed to dose every 6 hours or so. . . that would be 16 x 200mg tablets or caps in a day). Different folks have different GI sensitivity to ibuprofen, so 2000-3000 mg/day, especially if taken daily for weeks on end, could end up screwing with the "gut health" of many. Reaching to 4000 mg / day for, say, even 1-2 weeks straight, can't be a good thing. Give this some thought: if something is fucking with your GI tract and digestive system to the point of noticeable daily side effects, how much of a stretch would it be to assume that it is having either a direct or indirect impact (via messing with the GI) upon your endocrine system? Yup, jack up the dose enough or keep a mid-range dose going for an extended period of time, and all sorts of negative effects could crop up.

    Back to my original thoughts, based only on my experience and that of 2 other old-folks with whom I train: take 400-600mg before training if the joints (not muscles) are feeling enough pain to have an impact on ability to exert decent effort, and don't take any on off-days or post-workout. Even if one is training 5x/week, that's going to run 2000 - 3000 mg / WEEK. . . and less (or zero) on easier and de-load weeks. If one experiences GI issues or something similar (for example, mouth sores) at this level, then definitely stop. As for the impact upon testosterone production, etc. of this amount weekly, even over an extended period of time (say 10 years?), I haven't seen anything convincing to indicate a no-go.

    NOW, on the Abadjiev guidance: ibuprofen at certain levels can have adverse effect upon the kidneys; oral steroids can be quite nephrotoxic. . . well, I can see why Ivan would want to limit ibuprofen ingestion.
    Last edited by mb_here; 01-04-2019 at 04:47 PM.

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