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Eat a Curry to Reduce Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness sucks. There’s no sugar coating it. That dreadful feeling when you wake up the next day and you have trouble completing the simplest of daily tasks such as showering, walking down the stairs and moving in general. Over time, there have been several methods that have shown to be helpful in alleviating DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). These methods include:

  • Light exercise to increase blood flow
  • Use of supplements such as omega 3s, citrulline, HMB and carnitine
  • Stretching

However, there might just be another ingredient that can help significantly reduce DOMS and it’s found in curry. To be more exact the ingredient is Curcumin, one of the major active ingredients in the spice turmeric. The joint study performed by SportsMed Caterbury, Massey University in New Zealand and the Australian Institute of Sport examined the supplementation of 5g of curcumin or placebo on 17 men before and after intense and heavy exercise. Here’s what they found:

  • Two days after heavy exercise, those who supplemented with curcumin had a moderate-large reduction in pain.
  • Performance was also improved in those who supplemented with curcumin compared to those who weren’t.
  • However, there was a lack of change in inflammatory markers and status.

Practical Applications

It seems that curcumin is strongly capable of reducing the severity of muscle soreness after a heavy exercise session. While the exact mechanism of how it works is not known, it may be operating on a completely different pathway to inflammatory processes. The sale and supply of curcumin supplements have grown by over 20% in the last couple of years and this study along with many others point to the growing potential of the ingredient. The study suggests 5g of curcumin as the key dose, which equates to 100-150g of turmeric. You wouldn’t be able to get enough curcumin from eating curry alone, but be on the watchout for this ingredient to pop up in a range of post workout and intra workout supplements.

1. Nicol LM, Rowlands DS, Fazakerly R, Kellett J. ‘Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).’ Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Aug;115(8):1769-77.

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