Curcumin may protect against muscle damage & soreness after exercise

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Torjrtrx
© Getty Images / Torjrtrx
Supplementation with curcumin may reduce muscle damage and soreness without impacting the ‘natural inflammatory response’, says a study from Mississippi State University.

Data from a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial indicated that NOW’s CurcuFresh supplement led to significant reductions in creatine kinase, a muscle damage-associated biomarker, and lower perceived muscle soreness, compared to placebo.

“These data suggest curcumin supplementation of 28 days may result in decreased muscle damage and muscle soreness in active healthy men,”​ wrote the researchers in the Journal of Dietary Supplements​.

“Inevitably, curcumin supplementation may be a viable source for improving recovery in trained individuals.”

#1 selling herbal supplement in the natural channel

The study adds to the ever-growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.

According to the 2017 Herb Market Report​ published by the American Botanical Council (HerbalGram​ 119), turmeric is the number one selling herb in the natural channel, with $50.3 million (12% growth year-over-year). It is number five in the mass channel (MULO) with $32.5 million in sales (48% growth y-o-y).

Study details

The researchers recruited 19 men aged between 18 and 39 to participate in their study. The men were randomly assigned to consume either the CurcuFresh supplements (1.5 g/day, providing 69 mg of curcuminoids) or placebo for 28 days. A muscle-damaging protocol was performed before and after the supplementation period.

Results showed that there were no significant differences between the curcumin and placebo groups for biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress (OS), such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) malondialdehyde (MDA).

On the other hand, significant reductions in creatine kinase (CK) in the curcumin group (199.6 U/L) post-supplementation, compared to the placebo (287.0 U/L).

Perceived muscle soreness was also decreased in the curcumin group (VAS scale 2.88) compared to the placebo group (VAS scale 3.36).

“This study examined the effect of a newly formulated curcumin (CurcuFresh) on biomarkers of OS, inflammation, muscle damage, and muscle soreness in humans,”​ wrote the researchers. “This is the first study (to the investigators’ knowledge) to implement a 28-day supplementation period.

“The main findings from the current study were that curcumin ingestion resulted in significantly lower plasma concentrations of CK and perceived muscle soreness following the eccentric muscle damage protocol, despite any changes in biomarkers of inflammation and OS.”

Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/19390211.2019.1604604
“Effect of Curcumin Supplementation on Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, Muscle Damage, and Muscle Soreness”
Authors: S.A. Basham et al.

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