Effects of turmeric extract supplementation on inflammation and muscle damage after a half-marathon race: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial



Strenuous exercise induces inflammation and muscle damage. Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is a widely used spice that exhibits potent anti-inflammatory response and appears to decrease indirect markers of muscle damage. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of Curcuma longa L. extract (CLE) on inflammation and muscle damage after a half-marathon race.


Twenty-eight healthy, normal-weight men were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) CLE (3 capsules per day, 500 mg each); or (2) placebo (PLA, 3 capsules per day, 500 mg of microcrystalline cellulose). Participants received the intervention for 4 weeks and immediately before and after the half-marathon race. Creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, myoglobin, interleukins 6 and 10 were assessed at baseline, immediately before, after, and at 2, 24, and 48 h after the half-marathon race.


The half-marathon race increased markers of inflammation and muscle damage. A greater increase in interleukin-10 was observed in the CLE group immediately after the competition compared to the PLA group (7.54 ± 1.45 vs 5.25 ± 0.59 pg/mL; p < 0.05; d = 0.55). Myoglobin concentration was lower 2 h after the race in participants from the CLE group compared to the PLA group (62.10 ± 8.26 vs 107.85 ± 18.45 ng/mL; p = 0.01; d = 0.86).


Curcuma longa L. extract supplementation leads to an increase in IL-10 and decreased myoglobin in recreational male runners after a half-marathon race.

Trial registration number

U1111-1179-6335, February 13, 2016.

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Data availability

The data sets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.



Aspartate aminotransferase


Coefficient of variation


Creatine kinase


Curcuma longa L. Extract


Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry


Fat mass


Lactate dehydrogenase


Lean mass


Nuclear factor kappa B




Visual analog scale


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The authors would like to thank Alcides Correia de Moraes Júnior, Alexandre Albuquerque, Marina Monteiro Celestino, Anna Paula Oliveira Gomes, Monallisa Alves Ferreira, Patricia Borges Botelho, Ronyson Camilo Soares, and Tatyanne Letícia Nogueira Gomes for their assistance during data collection.


The study was supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brazil (484023/2013-6). Joao Felipe Mota has been financially supported by CNPq. (305082/2019-1).

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JFM and MSA designed research; FRF and ACG conducted research; FRF, ACG, KRR, AA, CLPO, GDP, BMA, FL, and JFM participated in acquisition and/or the analysis of data; FRF and ACG wrote the paper; all authors participated in the interpretation of the reported results and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to João Felipe Mota.

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Communicated by Michalis G Nikolaidis.

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Faria, F.R., Gomes, A.C., Antunes, A. et al. Effects of turmeric extract supplementation on inflammation and muscle damage after a half-marathon race: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Appl Physiol 120, 1531–1540 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-020-04385-7

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  • Curcuma
  • Exercise
  • Muscle damage
  • Inflammation