How turmeric prevents exercise-induced muscle damage.

by Little Elephant


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How turmeric prevents exercise-induced muscle damage.

Mar 18, 2022

There has been plenty of research over the last decade on turmeric. These studies suggest that turmeric has many physical benefits for athletes that can significantly aid their physical performance.

Here are some of the most significant benefits


One of the main benefits of turmeric is the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. But to understand why lowering inflammation is beneficial, you need to know how inflammation works.

Inflammation is a natural bological response where your body brings about immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators to counter invading virus's,bacteria or injury. The purpose is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out dead cells and tissue damaged from the original offense and begin tissue repair.

In the short term, inflammation is good; we need this protective process to stay alive. However, it's not a perfect system. Your body can incorrectly think it's under attack when it's not. Inflammation over more extended periods (chronic) is known to be detrimental to our overall health.

Turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties allow it to help control inflammation by regulating transcription factors, cytokines, protein kinases, enzymes, and many other sub-processes and compounds involved in inflammation. [1]

Reduced Muscle Soreness Following Exercise

After a strenuous workout, muscles can be damaged, resulting in soreness and inflammation. Turmeric, as we've learnt, specifically the curcumin in turmeric, can aid in the reduction of this inflammation.

Controlled studies have shown that athletes who took turmeric versus those who were administered a placebo reported significantly lower levels of soreness after intense exercise and were found to have much lower levels of creatine kinase, a marker for muscle damage. [2]

Increased Athletic Performance

In 2015, researchers set out to study whether or not curcumin had any impact during physical exercise since there was little data at the time. Their results were quite promising.

They divided male mice into four different groups that were given different levels of curcumin and then subjected the mice to various intensive activities. They found that curcumin dose-dependently increased the mice's endurance during exercise as well as decreased the levels of lactate, ammonia, and other harmful chemicals.

Muscular glycogen levels, an important energy source for muscles, were also significantly increased. However, more research is needed to determine the exact effect on human performance. [3]

Benefits of Turmeric for Female Athletes

Menstrual cycles can often be painful for women, and enduring cramps can be a significant deterrent against going to the gym and working out. Multiple studies on curcumin have found that the substance can decrease the intensity and pain during periods. Curcumin has also been shown to have antispasmodic properties that help with cramps. [4]

Turmeric has also been shown to reduce weight gain and help with fat loss. A 2009 study found that mice that were regularly fed curcumin with their diets showed significantly less weight gain and even lower cholesterol levels. Researchers found that curcumin slows down the division of fat cells, helping to prevent obesity. [5]

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