For many runners, acetaminophen (Tylenol as a brand name) is a very popular choice for pain treatment before and after runs and strenuous workouts. Those athletes have an ongoing question that needs answers, they should know how does Tylenol enhance athletic performance. For many years, experts questioned whether or not the pain reliever had an ergogenic impact, but a new meta-analysis found that acetaminophen can boost performance when given 45 minutes to an hour before a significant effort or exertion.
Let’s discuss a few of the ways Tylenol affects athletic performance.
History and Functions of Paracetamol/Acetaminophen:
Acetaminophen is a medication with more than 129 years of clinical use, which has been able to alleviate hundreds of febrile and painful syndromes in practically the whole world. By 1970 acetaminophen became the most popular analgesic worldwide, prescribed by the medical community and self-administered by the general public for the relief of pain and fever: it became the most widely used for fever control for children of all ages, regardless of the underlying disease.
How Does Tylenol Work?
Although acetaminophen is frequently grouped alongside other pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin, it is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID). It works “mainly by suppressing prostaglandin production, which lowers transduction of the sensory neurons, resulting in reduced nociceptive impulse transmission”, according to research studies. In other words, it helps to chill the body and alters the way you perceive pain by raising your pain threshold, requiring more discomfort to develop before you experience it.
While Tylenol is commonly used in sports and exercise to relieve pain after prior workouts, little is known about its acute ergogenic benefits. Acute muscular discomfort can develop during several types of endurance activity (for example, intermediate distance running and cycling). Exercise-induced pain tolerance has been postulated as a significant element in endurance performance. According to one recent study, exercise-induced pain tolerance is highly connected with cycling or running performance. As a result, researchers have focused their efforts on techniques that reduce pain perceptions during exercise in order to increase endurance performance.
In theory, eating Tylenol during endurance exercises might boost exercise performance. A placebo or Tylenol dose of 1500mg was given to a group of trained male cyclists 60 minutes before a 16.1 km bicycle time trial in one study. According to this study, acute consumption of acetaminophen shortened the time required to finish the cycling event by 45 seconds. Recent studies, however, employed comparable protocols and exercise tests but found no evidence of an ergogenic impact of acetaminophen on endurance performance.
Traditional thinking about how the pain relievers might improve athletic ability is that they relieve pain: Athletes who experience high levels of acute muscle pain during the performance are more likely to quit and hit the post-race concession stands in search of fruit jerky, whereas those who are immune to pain are more likely to press on harder and longer.
However, paracetamol appears to reduce neuromuscular fatigue and promote muscle activation (at least in resistance exercise), which would presumably improve exercise performance.
Is Tylenol Always Safe to Use?
Surprisingly, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not now restrict paracetamol, but some believe it should be. In terms of safety, it is highly metabolized by the liver, so anybody considering using it as a performance-enhancing substance should exercise caution. However, issues usually do not arise until people exceed 4.000 mg (4grams) in a 24-hour period, at which point the liver may begin to moan.
And there’s one more thing that may be problematic, at least for athletes who do resistance training: Taking paracetamol before and after exercise has been shown in at least one research to reduce anabolic signaling indicators such as ribosomal protein phosphorylation (ribosomal protein phosphorylation is a determinant of cell size).
It’s important to note, however, that this apparent decrease in ribosomal protein phosphorylation occurred when athletes took paracetamol both before and after exercise. It’s unlikely to happen (given the drug’s short half-life) if athletes only take it before exercise/competition.
There are several reasons to suck it up and avoid drugs entirely. To begin with, it can aid in your recovery: Small rips in your muscles develop during exercise, causing white blood cells to rush in and begin the repair process. If you take an anti-inflammatory, you may sabotage your healing. Pain also signals when it’s time to take a day off, swallowing a couple of tablets and going for a run with a hurting foot or knee is a certain way to wind up with a catastrophic injury. Finally, anti-inflammatory medications were found to limit antibody formation in a 2009 research piece. Because hard training can reduce immunity, adding an NSAID to the mix may increase your chances of being unwell.
Tylenol and Running: The Case Against It
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is frequently regarded to be the safest over-the-counter pain reliever. There are occasions when it is acceptable to take, and it can make us grateful for the modern treatment. But we went through all of the reasons why you shouldn’t take Advil before running, so how about Tylenol? Is that a more secure option?
Tylenol is often viewed as the safer option when combined with exercise. According to this Chicago Tribune story, the Chicago Marathon’s medical team will not issue ibuprofen due to its GI and renal concerns, but will instead provide acetaminophen to runners in need of pain treatment. However, safer may not always imply “good” or “safe.”
Even while Tylenol has a considerably lesser anti-inflammatory impact than Advil, it might nonetheless impair your body’s natural capacity to heal and recover. If you need to take anything on a sporadic basis, such as to relieve a headache or period cramps in order to complete a training run. Tylenol is a far better option so we should all be familiar with the answers about how does Tylenol enhance athletic performance. Or perhaps we might suggest that you take a day off? Runners have a reputation for pushing through when they should not.
Finally, Tylenol should never be taken on a regular basis to relieve the typical discomfort associated with the intense running programs and training as it may become a lot more harmful than beneficial.