The commonly prescribed painkiller and anti-inflammatory, ibuprofen, has been linked to shrinking testicles, lowered testosterone levels and infertility issue in a shocking study.
In 2018, it was estimated that 15% of Americans take too much Ibuprofen — with the recommended daily limit being 3200mg per day. Additionally, Americans take an estimated 30 billion doses of painkillers similar to and including Ibuprofen which totals 16.5 million prescriptions.
Researchers from Denmark and France found in the paper Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that prolonged use of the commonly consumed painkiller could have some nasty side effects.
Net Doctor reported: “The small study, made up of just 31 male participants aged 18 to 35 years old, showed that taking ibuprofen increased the risk of compensated hypogonadism – a hormone imbalance whereby an individual has higher levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) than testosterone.
“For the research, participants were split into two groups. one group received 600mg or ibuprofen twice a day two weeks before and 30 days after an exercise session while the other acted as a control group. For the ibuprofen group, blood tests showed an 18% decrease in testosterone after 14 days, rising to a 23% decrease after 44 days.”
What is particularly alarming about the study is the participants were consuming around a third of what is considered a safe daily dose.
According to the study:
Concern has been raised over increased male reproductive disorders in the Western world, and the disruption of male endocrinology has been suggested to play a central role.
Several studies have shown that mild analgesics exposure during fetal life is associated with antiandrogenic effects and congenital malformations, but the effects on the adult man remain largely unknown. Through a clinical trial with young men exposed to ibuprofen, we show that the analgesic resulted in the clinical condition named “compensated hypogonadism,” a condition prevalent among elderly men and associated with reproductive and physical disorders.
In the men, luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased. Using adult testis explants exposed or not exposed to ibuprofen, we demonstrate that the endocrine capabilities from testicular Leydig and Sertoli cells, including testosterone production, were suppressed through transcriptional repression. This effect was also observed in a human steroidogenic cell line.
Our data demonstrate that ibuprofen alters the endocrine system via selective transcriptional repression in the human testes, thereby inducing compensated hypogonadism.
Taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) before or after training can interfere with recovery.
Acute inflammation is a necessary part of recovery.
Excessive Ibuprofen consumption has been linked with stomach bleeding, heart attacks and death.
Referring to the study, Dr David Kristensen, of Copenhagen University, said:
“Through a clinical trial with young men exposed to ibuprofen, we show that the analgesic resulted in the clinical condition named ‘compensated hypogonadism’ – a condition prevalent among elderly men and associated with reproductive and physical disorders. In the men, luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased. Concern has been raised over increased male reproductive disorders in the Western world and the disruption of male hormones has been suggested to play a central role.”
“Several studies have shown mild analgesics exposure during foetal life is associated with anti-androgenic effects and congenital malformations. But the effects on the adult man remain largely unknown. Ibuprofen appears to be the preferred pharmaceutical analgesic for long-term chronic pain and arthritis. Therefore, it is also of concern that men with compensated hypogonadism may eventually progress to overt primary hypogonadism, which is characterised by low circulating testosterone and prevalent symptoms including reduced libido, reduced muscle mass and strength, and depressed mood and fatigue.”
Medical Xpress also added: “They further report that the change caused the pituitary gland to respond by producing more of another hormone, which forced the body to produce more testosterone. The net result was that overall testosterone levels remained constant, but the body was overstressing to compensate for the detrimental impact of the Ibuprofen—a state called compensated hypogonadism.”
Low testosterone levels have been connected to a myriad of health issues in men from infertility to depression and early death.