Thursday, April 03, 2008

154.0 - Vitamin I

So, let's talk about ibuprofen, or "Vitamin I" as it is sometimes called in chronic-users circles. I'm a chronic user, because I'm a pansy and don't like pain, and I feel pain a lot--in my legs after a long (and sometimes short) run, in my head for various reasons, and in my lady parts at TTOM.

I was listening to one of Jillian Michaels's podcasts yesterday and she was slamming ibuprofen and other NSAIDS because they hinder the body's ability to recover and can even break down muscle tissue. This freaked me out a little, because I probably take 6 - 10 tablets of Vitamin I a week.

But before I throw out all the bottles of my treasured little brown pills, I did some internet searching of my own. This article says:

Many people believe that taking an NSAID precludes muscle growth. That is not what the research says. The research says it attenuates the post-exercise increase in protein synthesis; however, protein synthesis is still significantly increased over baseline levels. Therefore, despite taking an NSAID you can still grow big muscles. This makes sense. An NSAID works on prostaglandins which are just one of many mediators of inflammation [2]. These other mediators are still functioning correctly and proceed with tissue repair [3].

Here's the abstract of a study on pain relievers and muscle proteins. Its summary:
These results suggest that over-the-counter doses of both ibuprofen and acetaminophen suppress the protein synthesis response in skeletal muscle after eccentric resistance exercise. Thus these two analgesics may work through a common mechanism to influence protein metabolism in skeletal muscle.

Yeah, that clears it all up, doesn't it? I'm not an elite athlete or body builder, so it's not a huge deal to me. But I am nearing my 40th birthday and need every fiber of muscle I can hold on to.

I suppose just like anything, moderation is key. So I'm going to start mixing up my pain reliever usage. This morning when I was feeling some pain, I reached for a bottle of Tylenol instead of ibuprofen. But I'll still be popping a couple of brown pills the morning of my half marathon.
Got in a great run yesterday, outside in the sunshine and upper 50s. In shorts, no less (my poor legs are so white, I hope I didn't blind anyone driving by me). Since I had Garmin with me, I've got real digits to share:
3.5 miles in 36:59: avg. pace 10:33
Lap 1: 10:21
Lap 2: 10:46
Lap 3: 10:46
Lap 4: 10:06


P.O.M. said...

"attenuates" - who uses that word?

During my race training, i was poppin' advil like a junkie. I have toned it down, but am not afraid to go back when I start increasing my miles again. I think its fine.

Magnesium & fish oils also help with inflamation too.

Jill said...

Yay on a good run! And I PROMISE your legs cannot be any whiter than mine. A boyfriend in high school used to call me *the ghost* because my legs were (and still are) so white. And not the pretty peaches-and-cream kind of white, either. The fish belly, spider veiny kind of white. I"m sorry, was that TMI??? Ugh, I think I need to head to the tanning salon now!

Grumpy Chair said...

I know Debbi loved Aleve and as referred to it as her new best friend.

Since (in the past) I enjoyed mommie juice (cheap wine) I steered clear of Vitamin I and T(tylenol) - take only aspirin. Lots and lots of aspirin.

I'm sure I have said this before, but I am always amazed at how fast you can run.

sheila said...

Yeah, sounds like you had a great run, wasn't it beautiful out yesterday. Today was yucky. I also take the advil, but I do mix it up with aleve and tylonol and lets not forget the pms pills. I get some out of the machine at work. they are awesome.

Lori said...

Hey Laura, you're doing great -- I'm glad you did some research on ibuprofen. I love Jillian but I sometimes wonder about some of the things she says.

Did you know that Bob has a book out?

Oh, and your legs could not be any whiter than mine.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Sounds like we all have the white leg syndrome going on.

I, too, need every fiber of muscle I can cling to! :D I think if you are sore, you are going to repair that muscle, whether or not some painkillers are on board. As always, moderation is the key (and for many other reasons with these drugs anyway.)

Vickie said...

I also was a big 'user'.

I was taking prescription level dosages (double the package recommendation) of ibuprofen for a long, long time.

When I thought I was going in for epidural for my back - I had to be off of all ibuprofen for a week.

I stopped taking it that day at the scheduler's office - cold turkey - so that if I needed an emergency epidural, with my back while we tried physical therapy, I was all set.

Life without ibuprofen has been an eyeopener.

I was taking it all the time. And it was mostly habit. I had been in the process of NOT listening to my body. And therefore, also not dealing with my back - for years, and years.

Ironically, because of my uterian (I sound pretty pathetic, don't I???) surgery - I am also currently off BATHS.

Both are equally missed.

It has taken me weeks to not think about taking ibuprofen and not think about taking a bath. They were my "Go to" things.

I traded baths for an electric blanket. And that has helped.

I don't sleep with it - I remember some debate about electro magnetic fields and loosing your mind/depression from about 20 years ago. if isn't one thing, it's another. . .

PS - remember you cannot take MORE tylenol than what the bottle says - because it impacts kidneys. I also think there has been some studies about chronic ibuprofen use and the liver. Maybe I am confusing those two.