If you're thinking of taking painkillers before running in a marathon, think again, as a recent study on Medical News Today says that it may cause serious stomach and heart problems.

Researchers surveyed 4,000 of the 7,048 runners from the 2010 Bonn Marathon/Half-Marathon about their use of medication and any symptoms they felt during the race.

They found that many of those who withdrew from the marathon due to gastrointestinal problems and muscle cramps were those who took painkillers. The survey also revealed that nine runners who took painkillers were taken to the hospital for temporary kidney failure, bleeding ulcer, and heart attack. None of those who took any medication reported any serious problems.

Researchers believe that taking painkillers before any intense and prolonged physical activity increases the risk of experiencing these symptoms and conditions by 13 percent. This is due to the fact that painkillers block "enzymes called cyclooxygenases, which regulate the production of prostaglandins." Prostagladins protect tissues when the body is under prolonged stress. When inhibited, this may cause the body to collapse under pressure.

To avoid any complications in the first place, forego the painkillers, warm-up properly, and consult your doctor before performing any strenuous activities.

(Photo by Debs via Flickr Creative Commons)

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