These effects are achieved by improving the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and reducing the accumulation of lactate, a compound linked to muscle fatigue.
Curcumin consumption also raised the levels of anti-inflammatory biomarker interleukin-10 (IL-10).
Conducted by researchers from The University of Queensland, University of Sydney, and RDC Clinical, the findings of the study were recently published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements.
The RCT recruited 28 healthy males between the age of 18 to 35 who have experience in strength training.
Randomised into two groups, the experiment group drank a beverage containing HydroCurc – a high bioavailability curcumin formulated using a technology called LipiSperse.
Provided by Pharmako Biotechnologies, the sister company of Gencor Pacific, HydroCurc is made up of 450mg of curcumin extract. Of which, 95% of the extract is made up of the bioactive curcuminoids.
The control group drank placebo.
All subjects were then required to exercise, which involves warm-up, muscle stretches, leg press, lower limb resistance exercise to exhaustion.
They consumed the study products again after the exercise.
Key measurements such as their lactate, creatine kinase (CK), IL-10, thigh circumference, were taken pre and 1, 2, 3, 24, 48, and 72 hours after exercise.
The study has shed three key findings.
First, the experiment group reported reduced pain as compared to the control group at the 48th hour after exercise, which suggests that they could resume training quicker than the control group.
In turn, this could lead to improved training and exercise performance in the experiment group.
Second, there was lesser appearance of post-exercise capillary lactate in the experiment group (7.4 mmol/L) as compared to placebo (8.8 mmol/L) immediately after the exercise.
Since lactate accumulation is linked to muscle fatigue, the researchers said that the reduction in lactate could be a reason for the experiment group maintaining a higher power in the third set of leg press exercise.
As to why lactate levels had decreased, the researchers believe that curcumin had acted as a buffer to prevent the formation of lactic acid.
Third, the experiment group had increased blood IL-10 at the 24th hour post-exercise.
The researchers said that the increase in IL-10, an anti-inflammatory marker, could be the reason why the thigh circumference of subjects in the experiment group had returned to the baseline quicker than the control group.
A quicker return to baseline thigh circumference is significant as it indicates less swelling from extra-cellular fluid associated with inflammation and decreased exercise performance.
“The results suggest that curcumin with added LipiSperse may allow for a quicker return to exercise training, or to exercise at higher thresholds than the placebo drink,” the researchers concluded.
A post-experiment survey also found that 55% of the subjects who took the curcumin supplement said they would use the product again, as compared to 31% from the placebo group.
Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
Curcumin Improves Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and Post-exercise Lactate Accumulation
Authors: Alistair R. Mallard, David Briskey, Andrew Richards, BExSSc & Amanda Rao