Curcumin for exercise-induced muscle damage

In this meta-analysis, supplementation with curcumin was associated with improvement in a number of symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage.

This Study Summary was published on August 23, 2022.

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Background

Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) — which is usually the result of high-force eccentric or unaccustomed exercise — typically manifests as muscle pain and swelling, strength loss, and reduced joint range of motion (ROM). Due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-relieving properties, curcumin may improve these symptoms of EIMD.

The study

This meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials examined the effect of supplementation with curcumin, compared to placebo, on several EIMD-related outcomes in a total of 316 adult participants.

The outcomes were creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage), muscle soreness, inflammatory biomarkers (tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 6, and interleukin 8), muscle strength (assessed as maximal voluntary contraction), and joint ROM.

Seven trials included only men, and 3 trials included both men and women. The participants (average ages of 20–36), who were untrained in 5 trials and trained in the other 5 trials, performed resistance exercise in 8 trials and aerobic exercise in 2 trials. Four trials used Theracumin®, and 1 trial each used Meriva®, Eurofins Scientific Inc®, Longvida®, CurcuWin®, CurcuFresh®, and Cureit® in daily doses of 150–5,000 mg. The intervention durations lasted 1–56 days.

The results

Supplementation with curcumin decreased levels of creatine kinase (indicating reduced muscle damage). In the subgroup analyses, curcumin decreased creatine kinase levels at 24 and 48 hours postexercise, but not immediately postexercise or at 72 or 96 hours postexercise.

Curcumin also decreased muscle soreness, but this effect was statistically significant only at 96 hours postexercise. Moreover, curcumin decreased the levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (indicating reduced inflammation) and increased muscle strength and joint ROM.

In a dose-response analysis, curcumin decreased tumor necrosis factor alpha in a nonlinear fashion, with an optimal dose of 300 mg.

The risk of bias was low in 3 trials, moderate in 6 trials, and high in 1 trial.

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This Study Summary was published on August 23, 2022.