Does ibuprofen impact muscle mass and strength?

NSAIDs are among the most popular drugs used by many people, also those who don’t undergo any physical activity. Unfortunately, their side effects can be serious if they are used regularly and in too high doses. Actually, you can be not aware of the fact that even without a prescription, in a grocery store or at a gas station, you can buy a lethal dose of ibuprofen.

Basing on the studies, Ibuprofen killed half of the rats population at 636 mg/kg, half of the mice population at 740 mg/kg and half of the guinea pigs population at 495 mg/kg. For comparison, Metandienone kills half of the animals at a dose of 1 g per kg of body weight, and oxandrolone requires doses greater than 5 g. Testosterone in propionate form needs 1350 mg per kg in mouses to kill half of their population.

This means that oxandrolone is eight to ten times less dangerous than ibuprofen! Testosterone is twice as safe in terms of acute toxicity.

NSAIDs are listed both in the group of substances harmful to the kidneys and liver! According to studies, 60% of ibuprofen users have no idea about the potential side effects of the drug, and more than a quarter of them are using ibuprofen in doses higher than the daily recommended dose.

And the impact of ibuprofen on muscle growth and strength?

Healthy men and women (18–35 years old) were randomized to a daily intake of ibuprofen (IBU; 1,200 mg) or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA; 75 mg) for 8 weeks. During this period, the subjects trained their legs on an ergometer or in a classic, resistance way. Muscle volume (MRI) and strength were assessed before and after the training period, and muscle biopsies were analyzed for the expression of muscle growth regulator genes and proteins.

They found that people taking 75 mg of aspirin per day achieved twice the gain (34 cm3) compared to the group taking 1.2 g of ibuprofen per day. In addition, ibuprofen inhibited the increase in strength in the group using the ergometer (it was less noticeable than inhibiting hypertrophy, but it did). Probably, ibuprofen strongly inhibits the expression of the cytokine IL-6, which is crucial for hypertrophy.


The use of NSAIDs should be avoided unless there is a clear need, as agents from this group are not indifferent to the kidneys, liver (e.g. ibuprofen ) or gastric mucosa (aspirin). Routinely it is worth reaching for antioxidants which can act like natural painkillers.