Beware Vitamin I: Why NSAIDs Are Dangerous for Athletes

This article is from Pip Taylor’s groundbreaking book, The Athlete’s Fix, which shows how to identify your problem foods—and the foods that make you feel and perform your best. The Athlete’s Fix offers a sensible, three-step program to identify food intolerances, navigate popular special diets, and develop your own customized clean diet that will support better health and performance.

It’s true that endurance sports can be painful. There are some workouts that just leave you lying on the floor in pain, swollen from the effort and the damage. NSAIDS like ibuprofen can take away the pain and inflammation, but they offer athletes a devil’s bargain.

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Used carefully and under the direction of a good doctor, NSAIDS might be useful for athletes. But they might also be damaging your gut, actually increasing long-term levels of inflammation, and compromising health in other ways. Because they are so common as one of the most widely used and available drugs in society, it’s awfully easy for athletes to overlook the side effects NSAIDS bring.

Research shows that NSAIDS can increase intestinal barrier permeability and inflammation, lead to malabsorption of nutrients, cause protein loss in the body, and even cause gastrointestinal ulcers or bleeding. NSAIDs may also disturb the microbial populations of your gut. These side effects can occur:

  • Even at normal doses
  • And without any obvious symptoms

Yet clearly your health may be compromised.

Sadly, the news is even worse for athletes. Intense exercise can also compromise your gut barrier. Add NSAIDs, and you could really be hurting yourself without even realizing it.

Rather than rely on anti-inflammatories, athletes can instead use diet to help reduce systemic inflammation. The Athlete’s Fix offers a guide to the common foods that cause or worsen inflammation and also those foods that cool off inflammation reactions in the body. Reducing your body’s chronic inflammation can promote recovery and make you feel better all around.

In her groundbreaking book, The Athlete’s Fix, registered dietitian Pip Taylor shows you how to find your problem foods—and the foods that make you feel and perform your best. The Athlete’s Fix offers a sensible, three-step program to identify food intolerances, navigate popular special diets, and develop your own customized clean diet that will support better health and performance.

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