A recent study looking at anti-inflammatory drugs found that it effects the way your body builds muscle. Are the anti-inflammatory drugs that you’re taking keeping you from building more muscle?

Do Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Inhibit Your Muscle Growth?

It’s not very uncommon for people to take anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as ibuprofen on a regular basis. Let’s be real, it’s so easy to develop minor joint pain and muscle aches and NSAID’s are a common over the counter drug. However, a new study is indicating that taking anti-inflammatory drugs could be inhibiting your muscle growth. Which means, if maximizing lean muscle mass is one of your workout goals, you might want to think about your use of ibuprofen.

How The Study Worked

The study took thirty-one “healthy” males and females between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.  For eight weeks one group took a daily dose of 1200mg of ibuprofen. In the other group, 75mg of aspirin was given for eight weeks. During the eight weeks the study participants performed exercises consisting of knee-extensor resistance training and conventional weight stack training. Before and after training muscle volume (via MRI) and strength was assessed and muscle biopsies were performed looking at gene expression and protein expression of muscle growth regulators.

What The Study Found

After eight weeks, the muscle volume was twice as large in the low dose aspirin group compared with the high dose ibuprofen group. Likewise, muscular inflammation was also significantly reduced in the high dose ibuprofen group.

How This Applies To You: 

This study suggests that muscular inflammation plays a crucial role at helping to develop muscle volume and strength. One of the principles of muscle growth is putting enough stress on the muscles to stimulate a response within the body to build more muscle. That stress response is an inflammatory response. Reducing inflammation in the body can reduce the body’s own ability to build more muscle.

On The Flip Side:

Studies have shown that anti-inflammatory medications in older age groups help to slow age-related muscle loss. This study suggests that the muscle building mechanisms are different in those younger compared to older adults.


Gustafsson, T. et. al. High Doses Of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Compromise Muscle Strength and Hypertrophic Adaptations To Resistance Training In Young Adults. Acta Physiologica. 16 September 2017. Web. 9 October 2017.