Interesting question. Aspirin is such a commonly prescribed drug and many people think of it simply as a harmless remedy for whatever pain or symptom(s) they may be presenting with. It is certainly something that has been around for a long time; it dates back to the mid 1800’s where it was developed from White Willow Bark extract after its’ effects on fever and inflammation had been observed and noted. Nowadays, thanks to it being widely used as a preventative ‘medicine’ for strokes, heart attacks and cardiovascular disease it remains an extremely popular choice partly due to it being perceived as relatively low risk.
I know a lot of athlete friends that take aspirin; some take it regularly (often because their doctor has advised it) whereas others just take it when they need to eg pain / sore muscles etc. In terms of being detrimental or enhancing to performance it aparrently does neither, however it can still affect your health.
There is the well known theory that taking aspirin on a daily basis will thin the blood and therefore inhibit clotting on some level. Doctors like this becasue this can help things such as BP and cholesterol levels and is a much safer choice than other drugs such as statins or Warfarin.
When you exercise intensely (running definately falls into this category), your muscle fibres are broken down before they are rebuilt again during the recovery process. As the fibres are damaged, white blood cells release something called interleukin-2 which is a type of protein. This causes the damaged cells to release prostaglandins which cause the pain (cause inflammation), but they also start the healing process.
Okay, so in answer to your question... all I can really think of is that the pain-reducing effects of aspirin might block signals that would otherwise tell you to stop exercising. So obviously if you continue to exercise when you should have stopped (because your pain receptors are less responsive due to the use of the aspirin), you can turn a minor injury into a much more serious one. And I would reason that a muscle tear would be a possibility, as many of us tend to exercise through pain even when not taking any painkillers at all!
I personally would consider switching to taking Omega 3 oils if you are not already using them. 5,000 or 6,000mg a day should help to bring your LDL back down as well as being great for the heart and cardiovascular system. There are no side effects to them and generally well tolerated by most, and they also provide excellent anti-inflammatory benefits when taken on a regular basis. So get stuck into them!
I hope some of this helps, cheers J.
JAMES STYLER (p.f.t), (b.b)
Columnist for V02 MAX magazine
Interview with 2 x Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington here:http://www.chrissiewellington.org/media/ironwoman-extraordinaire/
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