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Apr 19, 2021
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Allergy medications can weaken the effects of exercise

Aerobic exercise is an important “tool” in the prevention of chronic disease. The molecular mechanisms of their effect on the health of the cardiovascular system are not fully known. In recent years, scientists have learned that histamine, known as a mediator of inflammation and allergies, may be involved in the body’s response to exercise.

It is known that receptors sensitive to it are widespread in muscles. Back in the 1930s, an animal experiment showed that when muscle work, the level of histamine in the blood increases. In 2006, scientists discovered that histamine receptors (H1 and H2 receptors) play a role in increasing tissue blood flow after exercise.

Previously, researchers have tried to figure out how blocking of H1 and H2 receptors works on the effects of exercise, whether they affect the body’s response. However, this topic remains poorly understood.

What scientists have done

In the first experiment, six men and two women “rode” on a stationary bike for 40 minutes without taking antihistamines before. Then, during another exercise session, they spent the same amount of time on a stationary bike, first drinking antihistamines that block the H1 and H2 receptors. Scientists have documented their heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow rates.

The second experiment involved 18 men: half of them received antihistamines, and the rest took placebo (control group). They trained on bicycles for six weeks, three times a week.

What the study showed

Analysis of the data obtained showed that in people who took antihistamines, the increase in blood flow in tissues during exercise was 35% weaker than in those who did not take them. In a six-week study, participants who received the medication had weaker progress in exercise performance, increased blood flow, and muscle growth.

“A clear and expected training adaptation was found in the placebo group: increased physical performance, insulin sensitivity and vascular function. However, in the group receiving histamine receptor antagonists, exercise performance improved only slightly. ” reported Thisbaux Van der Stede of the University of Ghent, co-author of the study, on Twitter.

Scientists point out that at the moment, it is impossible to say for sure what the results of this scientific work mean for real life. The fact is that in the study, doses of drugs were used that are higher than in normal medical practice, given to allergy sufferers for long-term use. In addition, the simultaneous blocking of H1 and H2, which was required for the experiment, is also rarely carried out. The authors emphasize that you should not stop taking medication to improve athletic performance.


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