Polyphenol blend may boost post-exercise recovery: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images/funduck
© Getty Images/funduck
Daily supplementation with a blend of extracts from mangosteen, elderberry, and pomegranate may delay muscle soreness and help manage post-exercise recovery, says a new study.

Consumption of Fytexia’s polyphenol-rich ingredient branded TensLess was associated with a 28% reduction in the perception of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), compared with a placebo group, according to results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study.

Biomarkers of muscle damage were also reduced, in correlation with the decreases in DOMS, reported scientists from Fytexia (France), Catholic University of Murcia (Spain), and the University of Montpellier (France) in the journal Phytotherapy Research​.

“This prospective study highlights the beneficial, both acute and sub-chronic effects of the supplementation with TensLess, a polyphenol-rich extract-based food supplement, on adverse symptoms associated with DOMS, namely eccentric exercise-related markers of muscle impairment,” ​they wrote.

Study details

The researchers recruited 13 recreationally active athletes (men and women) to participate in their study. Participants were randomly assigned to consume placebo or 1.5 grams per day of TensLess, composed of polyphenol-rich extracts from mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana​ L.), pomegranate (Punica granatum​ L.), and black elderberry (Sambucus nigra​ L.) combination for five days. All of the study participants performed an eccentric exercise protocol on day one of the study, and DOMS and biomarkers of muscle damage were monitored for four more days. This was then followed by a three-week “washout” period before they were crossed over to the other group for five more days.

The results showed that TensLess supplementation provided a significant 33% decrease in DOMS perception as early as the first 24 hours following physical exercise, compared to placebo. In addition to this acute benefit, a 28% reduction in DOMS perception was reported compared to the placebo group for the full duration of the study.

These effects were correlated with a lower levels of muscle damage-associated biomarkers, specifically creatine kinase, creatinine and myoglobin during the 4 days post-workout, added the researchers.

Taken together, these positive results clearly indicate that post-exercise supplementation with TensLess may preserve myocytes and reduce soreness following eccentric exercise-induced damages, and, accordingly, significantly shorten muscle recovery.


TensLess is a combination of extracts from mangosteen (above), pomegranate, and black elderberry. Image © Getty Images / phadungsak

Commenting on the potential mechanisms of action, the researchers noted that compounds in both mangosteen and pomegranate have been reported to have direct impacts on perception of pain (nociception) as well as indirect anti-inflammatory effects.

“This important soreness and pain-alleviating benefit might be elicited by a synergistic action of bioactive polyphenols that are at the basis of TensLess formulation and which are altogether capable to provide both an acute and a sub-chronic beneficial effect,” ​wrote the researchers.

They noted that more studies are needed in order validate the potential biochemical mechanisms of action.

“Additionally, a pivotal study involving a larger sample of volunteers and incorporating high-profile athletes for which athletic performance measurements during the recovery period, namely strength and range of motion, would have to be performed; this would let us allow to clearly demonstrate the hypothesized mechanism implicated during functional improvement following dietary supplementation with TensLess,” ​they concluded.

Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5902
“Supplementation with a Polyphenol-Rich Extract, TensLess, Attenuates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and Improves Muscle Recovery from Damages After Eccentric Exercise”
Authors: C. Romain, et al.

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