Anyone who has started a new exercise routine will be familiar with DOMs. The intense pain in your muscles as you struggle to even roll out of bed makes you wonder if you were beaten by a baseball bat in your sleep. The pain is so bad in your legs that even attempting to sit down makes you look like an 80 year old. And stairs? Don’t even think about it. Impossible. Of course the soreness is easy to differentiate from an injury pain. But still – surviving the next 24-48 hours is going to be tough.

So far research has shown that stretching, icing, homeopathy, non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, electrotherapy and ultrasound is not effective in reducing DOMs.

But what about turmeric?

Experts from the Australian Institute of Sport investigated the preventative and curative effects of turmeric on DOMs versus a placebo. The dose was 2.5 g oral turmeric twice daily for 2-3 days before and after the training day. All participants completed a heavy muscle damaging eccentric protocol for single leg press.  Performance in vertical jump height was measured, blood samples were assessed and pain was rated for single leg squat, walking down stairs and stretch for quads and glutes.

They found that turmeric has a moderate to large reduction in DOMs pain and a higher vertical jump height. Blood tests also showed less creatine kinase, a marker for muscle cell damage, and more serum interleukin 6 which is an anti inflammatory marker.

So next time you are in the kitchen consider a sprinkle of turmeric if you desire to reduce DOMs after a heavy training session, after a marathon or adventure race or even after a rehabilitation training session. And let’s be honest – who wants to be crawling in pain and cursing at their physio/PT?



Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

by Nicol, Lesley M; Rowlands, David S; Fazakerly, Ruth; more…

European Journal of Applied Physiology, 08/2015, Volume 115, Issue 8

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