European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 8, pp 1769–1777 | Cite as

Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

  • Lesley M. Nicol
  • David S. Rowlands
  • Ruth Fazakerly
  • John Kellett
Original Article

Abstract

Introduction

Oral curcumin decreases inflammatory cytokines and increases muscle regeneration in mice.

Purpose

To determine effects of curcumin on muscle damage, inflammation and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in humans.

Method

Seventeen men completed a double-blind randomized-controlled crossover trial to estimate the effects of oral curcumin supplementation (2.5 g twice daily) versus placebo on single-leg jump performance and DOMS following unaccustomed heavy eccentric exercise. Curcumin or placebo was taken 2 d before to 3 d after eccentric single-leg press exercise, separated by 14-d washout. Measurements were made at baseline, and 0, 24 and 48-h post-exercise comprising: (a) limb pain (1–10 cm visual analogue scale; VAS), (b) muscle swelling, (c) single-leg jump height, and (d) serum markers of muscle damage and inflammation. Standardized magnitude-based inference was used to define outcomes.

Results

At 24 and 48-h post-exercise, curcumin caused moderate-large reductions in pain during single-leg squat (VAS scale −1.4 to −1.7; 90 %CL: ±1.0), gluteal stretch (−1.0 to −1.9; ±0.9), squat jump (−1.5 to −1.1; ± 1.2) and small reductions in creatine kinase activity (−22–29 %; ±21–22 %). Associated with the pain reduction was a small increase in single-leg jump performance (15 %; 90 %CL ± 12 %). Curcumin increased interleukin-6 concentrations at 0-h (31 %; ±29 %) and 48-h (32 %; ±29 %) relative to baseline, but decreased IL-6 at 24-h relative to post-exercise (−20 %; ±18 %).

Conclusions

Oral curcumin likely reduces pain associated with DOMS with some evidence for enhanced recovery of muscle performance. Further study is required on mechanisms and translational effects on sport or vocational performance.

Keywords

Performance Eccentric exercise Inflammation Recovery Visual analogue scale 

Abbreviations

AP-1

Activator protein 1

AIS

Australian Institute of Sport

CK

Creatine kinase

COX-2

Cyclooxygenase 2

DOMS

Delayed onset muscle soreness

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid

NF kappa B

Nuclear factor kappa beta

IL-6

Interleukin 6

1RM

One repetition maximum

TNF-alpha

Tumour necrosis factor alpha

VAS

Visual analogue scale

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lesley M. Nicol
    • 1
  • David S. Rowlands
    • 2
  • Ruth Fazakerly
    • 3
  • John Kellett
    • 4
  1. 1.SportsMed CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Sport and ExerciseMassey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Sports MedicineAustralian Institute of SportCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.HawkerAustralia

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