New Study Links Ibuprofen With Male Infertility

When you contract a headache, what do you do? Do you gulp down a large glass of water and take an Ibuprofen (also referred to as Advil or Motrin)? If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, a new study suggests this course of action is unhealthy for men.

The study, which was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that Ibuprofen has a “negative impact” on the testicles of young men. Researchers found that frequent consumption during a man’s adolescent years (primarily related to sports) can manifest as a “hormonal condition” during middle age that leads to reduced fertility.

31 male volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 35, were recruited for the study. 14 were given a daily dosage (600 mg twice a day) of Ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take before sports. Such is done to prevent pain. It is worth noting that the 1200-mg-per-day dosage is the maximum limit directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products. The remaining 17 men were given a placebo.

CNN reports: “For the men taking ibuprofen, within 14 days, their luteinizing hormones — which are secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone — became coordinated with the level of ibuprofen circulating in their blood. At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased, a sign of dysfunctional testicles.”

This means that the imbalance of hormones produced compensated hypogonadism, a condition associated with reduced fertility, depression, and an increased risk for cardiovascular events. Fortunately, the effects are believed to be reversible. However, this doesn’t mean they are dangerous. David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientists in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital, labeled aspirin, acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen as “anti-androgenic” drugs. This means they disrupt male hormones.

The study is a continuation of research led by the study’s co-author, Bernard Jégou. Jégou is the director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France. With his team, he has been studying the effects of pregnant woman ingesting one of three mild pain relievers: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol, sold under the brand name Tylenol) and Ibuprofen.

Their research (published in several papers) showed that when any of the three pain relievers are taking during pregnancy, they affect the testicles of male babies. They also discovered that consumption of the drugs increases the likelihood male babies will be born with congenital malformations.

Based on this latest research and former studies conducted by Jégou and his team, it seems clear the general populace should think twice before popping an Ibuprofen at the sign of a headache. Rather, go on a walk, drink more water, take a nap, and remove allergenic foods (including preservatives and artificial colors) from your diet. All of these will accomplish more than popping a pill.


Written by: Amanda Froelich

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