Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

about us





Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries

Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries
We can imagine that football clubs might soon be asking their costly football players to take allopurinol, a medicine for gout. Our prediction comes after reading an article that physiologists at the University of Valencia teaching hospital will soon publish in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. According to the Spanish researchers, a standard dose of allopurinol protects footballers' muscles during a match.

Some professional footballers are worth millions. As clubs invest so much money in their players, it's inevitable that injured players represent a heavy financial burden to the sport and society. Estimates made in 2000 put the figure at round seventy million dollars a year.

In 2003 the Spanish researchers published the results of a study they made of Tour de France cyclists in JAMA. [JAMA. 2003 May 21;289(19):2503-4.] These showed that administration of substances that inhibit the enzyme xanthine-oxidoreductase could protect athletes against injury. Allopurinol is one of these substances.

During exercise xanthine-oxidoreductase converts hypoxanthine is into xanthine first, and then into uric acid.

During this process aggressive molecules, such as superoxide, are released. These molecules can cause damage to the muscles and the heart, and increase the chance of injury or heart disease occurring. Allopurinol and its metabolite oxypurinol inhibit this process by inhibiting xanthine-oxidoreductase.

Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries

Because gout episodes are the result of excess uric acid in the blood, doctors use allopurinol as a medicine for gout. It has relatively few side effects and is not on the doping list.

Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries
By the way, there are natural alternatives for allopurinol. Phytate in supplement form it goes by the name of inositol-hexakisphosphate inhibits xanthine-oxidoreductase too [Life Sci. 2004 Feb 13;74(13):1691-700.], as do the flavonoids baicalein [structural formula shown here], wogonin and baicalin. [Anticancer Res. 1993 Nov-Dec;13(6A):2165-70.] These are found in extracts of plants such as Scutellaria baicalensis [which you may know as Skullcap].

The researchers performed an experiment, funded by the EU, on 12 male football players, all of whom played a match in the Spanish Football League. Half of the players were given a placebo four hours before the match, the other half were given 300 mg allopurinol. Just before the match and 12 hours afterwards the researchers analysed the players' blood.

The effects of allopurinol were most visible after the match. The researchers found considerably less creatine-kinase [CK], lactate dehydrogenase [LDH] and myoglobin in the players that had been given allopurinol than those that had been given a placebo. CK, LDH and myoglobin are markers for muscle damage.

Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries

Markers for damage to the heart muscle are high sensitive troponinT [Hs TnT] and myocardial-kinase [CK-MB]. Allopurinol inhibited the rise in these two markers after the match too.

Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries

A classic marker for free-radical damage is the concentration of malondialdehyde in the blood. The effect of allopurinol on this marker doesn't look like much, but it was statistically significant.

Allopurinol helps prevent football injuries

"Because allopurinol is such a safe drug, the possibility could be considered that players could be given allopurinol to prevent cardiac and skeletal muscle damage", the researchers conclude. "The fact that professional players in the last decade have started playing three games a week (as opposed to earlier when they only played one every weekend) gives more strength to the preventive action of allopurinol for these individuals."

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Apr 1. doi: 10.1111/sms.12213. [Epub ahead of print].

L-Carnitine gives football players the edge 21.11.2013
Glucosamine for soccer players 05.01.2011
Football players who do heavy squats jump higher and sprint faster 12.09.2009