Here are some unrelated facts:
- Athletes sometimes have strange endocrine profiles (low testosterone levels, mixed ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormone, etc.).
- The preferred analgesic for most athletes is Ibuprofen, also known as Advil.
- Birth rates in the Western world continue to decline year after year.
Well, those who worship at the altar of logic know that causality does not imply any correlation, but a recent study on the effects of ibuprofen on the physiology of human testes suggests that there is a good reason for the facts above to correlate.
researchers from Southwestern Medical Center University of Texas found that they can be used relatively short term (1
Which means your balls behave like old men themselves. LH knocks on the chemical door all her life, and when you're younger, your balls "hear" the knock and answer the door (make more testosterone).
When you are old, your balls do not hear the knock and watch repetitions of CSI. LH has to keep louder and louder (send more and more LH) for the balls to hear, but often they do not sleep in the barcalounger.
The doctors found that regular use of ibuprofen can cause this condition much too soon. This is a problem, since conditioned hypogonadism is often followed by true hypogonadism (low testosterone levels and all related complaints).
But that's not all. They also found that regular use of ibuprofen affects other aspects of testicular function, including decreased sperm count.
What They Did
This study was somewhat unusual (but admirable) in that it evaluated the effects of ibuprofen on both true young males and in adult testicular explants from donors (ex vivo). They also performed some additional tests in test tubes (in vitro).
First they gave 600 mg daily. Dose of ibuprofen to young, healthy volunteers and assessed their testicular physiology after 14 days and again after 44 days. They also exposed the testes to doses equivalent to the oral doses given to the young men and tested them at 24 hours and again at 48 hours.
What they found
Ibuprofen does not affect the testosterone or estradiol levels of young men either after 14 days or after 44 days. However, it did affect their LH levels and their LH / free testosterone levels. LH increased by 23% at 14 days and 33% at 14 days, leading to conditional hypogonadism (see above). Furthermore, ibuprofen affected the activity of the Sertoli cells and sperm are produced here. In particular, it reduced inhibin B / FSH ratios by 4% at day 14 and 12% at day 44, along with the reduction in AMH levels by 9% at day 14 and 7% at day 44. Add them and it means that the sperm may be crawling and not many of them.
The results in the ex vivo samples were even more dramatic. Testosterone levels decreased after administration of ibuprofen. The effects were dramatic, dose-dependent, and worsened over time. In fact, ibuprofen "generally inhibited all steroids from pregnenolone to testosterone and 17B-estradiol."
Testicular tissue samples also suffered from impaired Sertoli cell function, which was also observed in the testes of human volunteers. (However, testicular impairment is likely to be reversible after stopping ibuprofen use.)
What does it mean for you
Many athletes use ibuprofen to relieve their discomfort. More and more evidence suggests that this is a bad strategy. First, it is almost unequivocal that ibuprofen, along with other NSAIDs, adversely affects the post-workout acute inflammatory phase, which is crucial for muscle growth.
However, taking ibuprofen for annoying pain allows you to work harder, but it also prevents you from building extra muscle.
In addition, the indiscriminate and excessive use of ibuprofen could actually interfere with the ability of the testes to form sperm, thereby contributing to a reduction in male fertility rates. The researchers went so far as to say that the striking dual effect of ibuprofen on Leydig and Sertoli cells suggests that ibuprofen from all the chemical classes considered has "the broadest endocrine-disrupting properties found in men to date".
Not good. As always, further studies are needed, but in the meantime use something like polyphenol curcumin for post-workout pain management. It does the job without compromising testicular physiology or adapting muscles to training.
Do painkillers affect muscle growth?
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David Møbjerg Kristensen, Christèle Desdoits-Lethimonier, Abigail L. Mackey et al.: "Ibuprofen alters human testicular physiology to create a state of compensated hypogonadism," PNAS, January 23, 2018 (4) E715-E724.