If you’re experiencing muscle pain and soreness, or you often face post-workout fatigue, then you must know how a kitchen ingredient on your kitchen shelf can be a powerful food against muscle pain, inflammation, and chronic fatigue. When it comes to helping athletes recover from workouts, what’s more, potent than curcumin? Curcumin, a natural polyphenol extracted from fresh turmeric roots, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This powerful ingredient has extended usage for centuries in medicine and cooking, mainly in India and other parts of Asia. Its health benefits are well-documented: several studies have found that curcumin can help decrease inflammation, improve gut health and heart health, reduce blood sugar levels, combat cancer cells, and the list goes on! And now there’s research showing that it can also help speed up muscle recovery after hard workouts.
Curcumin’s Ability to Reduce Muscle Pain
In the past few decades, curcumin’s ability to impact chronic inflammatory diseases such as metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and cancer has been studied widely, along with increasing claims about knowing its role in exercise-linked muscle pain.
The anti-inflammatory properties owned by curcumin are because it inhibits the nuclear factor kappa (NF-κB), which may be a muscle protective and regeneration agent that plays a vital role in controlling physiological mechanisms of inflammation and protein breakdown [R]
Exercise disturbs the muscles’ ultrastructure and increases inflammatory cytokine levels. Also, exercise can induce:
- Swelling in the affected limb
- Reduction in range of motion (ROM)
- Decrease in muscular force-producing capacity
The three powerful ways it can help you recover from workouts – and life.
- Curcumin is more effective than ibuprofen at reducing pain and inflammation in joints.
- It’s also been found to have beneficial effects on both upper and lower back pain as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
- In addition to reducing pain and soreness from your workouts (and life in general), curcumin has been shown to improve sleep quality—another critical component of recovery.
How to take curcumin for Muscle Pain?
Curcumin supplements in the dose between 90-500 mg/day can:
- Reduce the muscles pain
- Increase antioxidant capacity
- Reduce CK (cytokines) activity, which reduces muscle damage when consumed before exercise.
Consumption of curcumin also improves muscle performance and has an anti-inflammatory effect, decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Curcumin may also improve oxidative ability without interfering with exercise adaptations in untrained and recreationally active people. Still, even athletes with no history of muscle soreness can benefit from curcumin’s ability to speed up recovery after workouts.
To get the most out of curcumin’s muscle pain and anti-inflammatory properties, you’ll want to add it to your life in as many ways as possible. Here’s how:
Take it as a supplement because of its ability to reduce inflammation in muscles and joints after intense exercise sessions (or even just a long day at work). Since curcumin can be found in turmeric, this means that you can use this spice in cooking (and if you’re not sure how much turmeric is safe to eat at once, check out our article).
DON’T MISS BLACK PEPPER (PIPERINE EXTRACT):
The optimal curcumin effect on muscle pain and inflammation depends upon the supplement’s concentration and bioavailability. Taking curcumin with black pepper speeds up recovery so that muscle pain and soreness don’t last as long! Piperine in black pepper ensures curcumin absorption in your body very well. So while choosing curcumin supplements, be sure the product has black pepper. Read the product label first while making a buying decision.
Curcumin in turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it effective at reducing pain and swelling after exercise. This is especially beneficial for people prone to soreness or injury following physical activity. In addition to its benefits during recovery from physical activity, turmeric also provides many other health benefits—including improved skin tone, enhanced immune system function (which staves off colds), and reduced inflammation throughout your body—making it an excellent addition to any diet!
The bottom line is that curcumin is a powerful ingredient with many benefits. It can help you recover from workouts faster and reduce muscle soreness. It also has other health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving brain function. If you want to take your health to the next level, adding this super spice to your daily recipes might be the right place to start!
Fernández-Lázaro D, Mielgo-Ayuso J, Seco Calvo J, Córdova Martínez A, Caballero García A, Fernandez-Lazaro CI. Modulation of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage, Inflammation, and Oxidative Markers by Curcumin Supplementation in a Physically Active Population: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071279/ 2020 Feb 15;12(2):501. doi: 10.3390/nu12020501. PMID: 32075287; PMCID: PMC7071279.
Yoon WY, Lee K, Kim J. Curcumin supplementation and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS): effects, mechanisms, and practical considerations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7669469/ Phys Act Nutr. 2020 Sep;24(3):39-43. doi: 10.20463/pan.2020.0020. Epub 2020 Sep 30. PMID: 33108717; PMCID: PMC7669469.
Nanavati, K., Rutherfurd-Markwick, K., Lee, S.J. et al. Effect of curcumin supplementation on exercise-induced muscle damage: a narrative review. Eur J Nutr 61, 3835–3855 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-022-02943-7/
12-week curcumin supplementation may relieve postexercise muscle fatigue in adolescent athletes https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.1078108/
Brian K. McFarlin, Adam S. Venable, Andrea L. Henning, Jill N. Best Sampson, Kathryn Pennel, Jakob L. Vingren, David W. Hill, Reduced inflammatory and muscle damage biomarkers following oral supplementation with bioavailable curcumin, BBA Clinical https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbacli.2016.02.003