Curcumin is commonly found in turmeric and curry based foods, but has recently been recently under the experimental spotlight as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving supplement. Based on this, researchers from University of Tsukuba (Japan) hypothesized that curcumin ingestion would decrease muscle damage after heavy eccentric exercise. In this placebo controlled trial, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, it was found that men who took curcumin (150mg) before and 12-h after heavy eccentric arm exercise had about 50% greater strength recovery (4 days after exercise) and an over 50% decrease in creatine kinase levels (an enzyme maker for muscle damage).
ACTION POINT: These data illustrate that curcumin supplementation reduces muscle damage and boosts recovery after training. Based on this, curcumin would be a valuable supplement for athletes who compete multiple times per week or for those who have several back-to-back sports events or training sessions. We recommend taking 150–600 milligrams of turmeric, standardized to >95% curcuminoids, twice daily with food. On training days, take with pre and post workout meals.
Reference: Tanabe Y, Maeda S, Akazawa N, Zempo-Miyaki A, Choi Y, Ra SG, Imaizumi A, Otsuka Y, Nosaka K. Attenuation of indirect markers of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage by curcumin. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Apr 29. [Epub ahead of print]