Curcumin supplement takes the pain out of rugby tackle after-effects, finds study

By Tim Cutcliffe

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/ areeya_ann
© iStock/ areeya_ann

Related tags Pain

Meriva, a proprietary lecithin-based delivery form of curcumin, significantly reduced pain and enhanced physical function in injured rugby players, according to a recent study in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.

The small pilot-study included 50 male rugby players suffering osteo-muscular discomfort from repeated tackles, overload or chronic pain. The players were treated with either conventional pain-killing drugs, or Meriva-based products.

Both groups of players showed significant improvements versus baseline in pain perception and physical function at various intervals during the 20-day monitoring period, found the research team from various Italian institutions.

The supplement group showed similar benefits to the conventional analgesics group as measured by these two main outcomes. However, tolerability in the Meriva treated group was better, showing only 4% adverse events (gastric pain) versus 16% in the standard treatment group.

“Intense, high impact, physical activities are often associated with osteo-muscular conditions. Meriva, even when administered at higher dosages, has been determined to be a safe and tolerable agent that could avoid the common gastric side effects associated with the use of many anti-inflammatory remedies that are the best standard management,” ​commented Antonella Riva, Product Research Manager at Indena.

Meriva also has the ability of “exerting its beneficial effect even with a short term treatment,”​ added first author Dr. Francesco Di Pierro of Velleja Research, Milan.

Meriva is manufactured by Italian company Indena SpA. The product is a curcumin extract bound to phosphatidylcholine (lecithin based). This provides improved absorption and bioavailability compared with simple plant-based curcumin, which naturally occurs in turmeric.

Study Details

The supplement group were given one tablet of Meriva (1 gram) every 12 hours for either 5 days (n=23) or 10 days (n-=2). The analgesic drugs group received medication for 3, 5, or 10 days. The scientists measured pain perception via Visual Analog Scale (devised by Scott-Huskisson), while physical function was assessed via an arbitrary 0-10 scale (0= complete function to 10= full impairment).

Further work needed

Due to the small size of this trial and lack of control group, the scientists emphasised that further investigations should be conducted to confirm these findings.

“Our results should be considered preliminary and larger trials on subjects with homogeneous osteo-muscular pain conditions and with a homogenously-treated control group should be planned to better characterize the effects of curcumin,”​ concluded Di Pierro.

Source: European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences

Volume 21, number 21. Pages 4935-4940

“A naturally-inspired, curcumin-based lecithin formulation (Meriva® formulated as the finished product Algocur) alleviates the osteo-muscular pain conditions in rugby players”

Authors: F. Di Pierro et al

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