Posts Tagged ‘ibuprofen’

Inflammation Smackdown: Chia vs. Ibuprofen

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The Lab

Inflammation is a biological response of the body to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens and other irritants. Inflammation represents an attempt to remove the negative stimuli and to begin the healing process. Without inflammation, wounds and infections wouldn’t heal. Unchecked, chronic inflammation can also lead to a host of diseases and for this reason inflammation is closely regulated by the body.

For athletes and those involved in an exercise program, inflammation is a common by-product of training. Inflammation can slow progress, cause loss of muscle mass, and increase body fat. Ironically, what we hope will help us become stronger, faster and healthier can also bring about results opposite to those we wish to achieve. All exercise and sports activities produce some level of inflammation.

How do we overcome inflammation due of strenuous exercise? One popular approach is the use of Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxin, etc. Unfortunately, NSAID’s are not without side effects, such as reducing the flow of blood to the kidneys and therefore impairing their function.  They may also be linked to liver failure and intestinal hemorrhage.

Dr. David C. Nieman, the director of the Human Performance Lab at the Appalachian State University, is looking into methods other than ibuprofen for decreasing inflammation in runners. According to the Independent Tribune, Dr. Nieman believes that NSAID’s hurt the body (with the exception of aspirin):

We have shown that it actually causes bacteria to leave the colon and enter the blood stream, and that causes systemic inflammation and kidney dysfunction…Ibuprofen and heavy exercise do not mix.

Dr. Nieman has started looking into the effects of chia seeds on  overweight, post-menopausal women; women who tend to suffer some inflammation. Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, minerals, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. In October he will perform the same study on cyclists. Participants will take 25 grams of chia seeds a day for 30 days. Cycling test sessions will be conducted at the beginning and end of the of the trial where various fitness tests will take place. Half the group will be taking the chia seeds and the other half will take a placebo. According to Dr. Nieman:

We will be able to better determine if there is an anti-inflammatory effect in these studies…So what we really are doing is taking this Chia seed research to an all new level that’s never been done before. This study will determine once and for all if the omega 3 fat in the Chia seed has benefits for obese people and athletes.

Needless to say, we’ll be keeping our eyes on this study and look forward to the results.

Athletes test for impact of Chia seed on inflammation

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Creative Commons License photo credit: lmpicard