Short-term curcumin supplementation may reduce muscle soreness after exercise: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© microgen / Getty Images
© microgen / Getty Images

Related tags Curcumin exercise Inflammation Muscle damage

Ten days of pre- and post-exercise curcumin supplementation was associated with reductions in muscle soreness without affecting muscular power compared to placebo, says a new study.

Using the Curcumin 95 product from Jarrow Formulas (formulated with Sabinsa's Curcumin C3 Complex), scientists from Marywood University in Scranton, PA, and Ohio University in Athens, OH report that while markers of muscle damage and soreness increased post-exercise in both the curcumin and placebo groups, soreness was significantly less in the curcumin group.

“Therefore, supplementing with curcumin, especially during times of heavy training or unaccustomed exercise (i.e. pre-season, short rest between competition, etc.) may help support training by decreasing perceived soreness and maintaining power,”​ they wrote in the Journal of Dietary Supplements​.

$140+ million in sales

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

According to the 2019 Herb Market Report​ published by the American Botanical Council (HerbalGram​ 127), turmeric is the number two selling herb in the natural channel, with $48.1 million in sales. It is number four in the mass channel (MULO) with $92.4 million in sales.

Study details

The researchers, led by Dr Angela Hillman, an assistant professor at Ohio University, recruited 22 men and women in their early 20s to participate in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either Curcumin 95 (500 mg of curcumin with 475 mg total curcuminoids) or placebo twice a day for 10 days (six days pre-exercise, the day of, and then three days after the exercise test). The exercise test on day seven consisted of five bouts of 20 drop jumps.

Results showed that, while serum creatine kinase (CK), a marker of muscle damage, was not significantly different between groups at 48- and 72-hours post-exercise. However, perceived muscle soreness was significantly greater in the placebo group at both of these time points.

In addition, markers of inflammation tended​ to be lower in the curcumin group, supporting curcumin’s role in lowering inflammation.

“We found that curcumin supplementation decreased subjective ratings of soreness during a squat and after vertical jump performance and maintained muscular power performance better than placebo. This is despite no significant differences between curcumin and placebo on biomarkers of muscle damage and inflammation,”​ they wrote.

“Further research is warranted to elucidate the relationship of muscle damage and inflammation and the potential impact of curcumin both, particularly in sport-specific settings.”

The study was supported by an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation-McCormick Science Institute Research Award.

Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/19390211.2021.1875101
“Ten Days of Curcumin Supplementation Attenuates Subjective Soreness and Maintains Muscular Power Following Plyometric Exercise”
Authors: A.R. Hillman et al.

Related topics Research Botanicals Sports nutrition

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