Aspirin Bodybuilding NotesStudy scientific research about the benefits of aspirin. Aspirin may lead to muscle growth.
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Aspirin. He lifts a loaded Olympic barbell. Suddenly he feels a sharp pain in his shoulder. In bodybuilding there is a good kind of pain and a bad kind—this is not the good kind.
At first, he thinks the pain will go away. But his shoulder is going to hurt for a while. He researches aspirin and bodybuilding on the Internet.
He takes the recommended
dose of aspirin. There is evidence this helps muscles grow even faster. But it is important not to use too much aspirin. To be a strong man, you cannot be dead.
Note Bodybuilders experience pain. This is due to their training—or for other unrelated reasons.
Question How does aspirin affect bodybuilding and muscle growth? Science can provide illumination here.
Does aspirin hinder muscle gains or help with them? Let's investigate the medical research. Aspirin may have benefits for bodybuilders.
Tip After 8 to 10 days of aspirin use, cortisol hormone levels drop and testosterone increases.
Tip 2 With lower cortisol levels and comparatively higher testosterone, more muscle can be gained.
One study I found was done on rats. The researchers sought to find how the male rats' testosterone levels were affected by aspirin use.
Method The rats were given aspirin for 8 to 30 days, depending on the group. Their blood was analyzed.
Quote While aspirin administration for 8 days caused an increase in the plasma testosterone level with decrease in both LH and FSH levels, prolonged treatment for 15 days and more produced a reverse effect.
Effects of aspirin on testosterone
As a reminder,
LH and FSH are the hormones the brain releases that signal testosterone and sex steroid production. Aspirin for eight days led to more testosterone.
However Beyond eight days, testosterone levels dropped. So excessive aspirin use is not beneficial.
As a bodybuilder,
testosterone aids muscle growth. But it is not the only factor. It is just one of a constellation of hormone changes. Hormonal balance is influenced by exercise.
Warning This study was done in 1980. It is older scientific research and is lacking any new scientific developments.
This 2007 Italian study was done on human athletes. The men were given acetylsalicylic acid, which is aspirin. They took 800 mg of aspirin each day for ten days.
And The control group took a placebo. Neither group exercised—which is not something a bodybuilder would do.
Quote The results revealed that compared to placebo, plasma [cortisol] was significantly lower after ASA treatment (p = 0.023).
The steroid hormone milieu
Notes on study.
The Italian study is interesting because cortisol, and the testosterone-cortisol ratio, is important in muscle growth.
Note Cortisol is a hormone that reduces muscle growth. Testosterone is a hormone that increases it.
Note 2 After ten days, cortisol was reduced in this group because of taking aspirin. So the testosterone-cortisol ratio would be improved.
A short period of aspirin can have a positive effect on hormone levels. In rats, T was increased after 8 days. And in human athletes, cortisol was lowered after 10 days.
Note We can expect that the testosterone-cortisol level in humans would increase after 8-10 days.
And This would lead to more muscle synthesis and growth. For bodybuilders a short, one-week long course of aspirin may have benefits.
My limited research on this subject suggests that, for optimal muscle growth, taking a week off from lifting weights and taking aspirin is beneficial.
1. Take a week off from exercise. This should be after a course of heavy, strenuous weightlifting.
2. Take 800 mg aspirin each day. This is not a large dose of aspirin. In the study done in Italy, 1600 mg daily was used in two doses.
3. Results The testosterone-cortisol ratio may improve, leading to further muscle growth.
My aspirin story.
Years ago I did some heavy squats in the morning. My thighs ached from this effort. And in the afternoon, I developed a headache from my tooth grinding issue.
So I took some aspirin in the afternoon, and ended up getting in a traffic accident. This was not pleasant.
And I was tired from my bodybuilding workout and the aspirin caused my driving ability to decrease. No one was injured.
Moral Always be careful after taking pills before getting into a car and driving. You might run over something or someone.
Heartburn. One side effect of aspirin is that it can cause heartburn. Aspirin is harsh on the gastrointestinal system. We should be wary of internal bleeding.
A note. More is not better. And do not take too much medical advice from random Internet pages. There will be time later in life (probably) to lift more weights and become stronger.
A summary. Aspirin and other similar painkillers have been shown to have limited effects that benefit muscle growth. Ibuprofen is another recommended painkiller.
In scientific research, cortisol drops and testosterone increases after 8-10 days of aspirin use. An occasional course of aspirin, lasting about one week, may benefit bodybuilders.
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