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Painkillers Boost Muscle Mass Among Weight-Training Elderly
Date:4/6/2008

Daily dose of ibuprofen, acetaminophen upped growth by 40% to 60%, study found

SUNDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A daily dose of either ibuprofen and acetaminophen appears to boost both muscle mass and strength among elderly men and women who do weight training.

"It's surprising," said principal investigator Todd A. Trappe, an associate professor with the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. "But the bottom line is that you would have to search pretty long and hard to find anything that would demonstrate the strong and positive effect on muscle growth that we observed. And I certainly don't think you're going to find it in anything that's non-prescription."

His team was to present its research April 6 at the Experimental Biology annual meeting, in San Diego.

The finding stems from an earlier study the team conducted on the short-term impact of ibuprofen and acetaminophen on muscle metabolism among young men and women who lifted weights over a 24-hour period. The impact here was negative, as the two drugs were found to have blocked the workings of an enzyme known as Cox and inhibited the adding of new protein to muscle.

"So we thought we needed to look at this long-term and among older people, who are more likely to be taking these drugs chronically for pain and other reasons, because we're trying to tell them that they need to be more active as they age, yet there may be an interfering effect here," Trappe said.

To explore the question, the researchers tracked 36 men and women between the ages of 60 and 78 for who enrolled in a three-month regimen of knee-extensor weight training at the Human Performance Lab.

Training intensity and duration -- 15- to 20-minute sessions three times per week -- was set at a level known by the researchers to prompt significant muscle mass and strength growth in a participant's quadriceps muscles, in the absence of any medicati
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