Any athlete will understand that being injured is both physically and mentally exhausting. When you are committed to a training program, every fiber in your body wants to see it through – especially if you are preparing for a big game, tournament, or competition or need to be at the top of your game week-in, week-out within a league.
Of course, when a professional athlete is injured, their team will provide a rehab program. You may follow your rehab schedule to slowly build your body back to full strength if you’re an individual. Either way, you might be looking for other things that can help speed up your recovery – whether that’s sleep and rest, diet, ice baths, or anything else you might think of and get your hands on.One of these remedies, which has been widely reported by athletes to aid the recovery process, is curcumin – the main active ingredient found in turmeric.
This article will shed light on the benefits of turmeric for athletes of turmeric as well as curcumin. Curcumin is an active ingredient derived from turmeric, and many research studies are focused on curcumin.
Why Athletes Should Start Using Turmeric/ Curcumin
Turmeric vs. Curcumin
Most of us know what turmeric is. It’s ‘that yellow-colored spice that makes food taste great.’ But turmeric is different from what provides us with a health boost. Instead, it’scurcumin, one of the primary substrates in the turmeric root. Curcumin is an orangish-yellow lipophilic polyphenol compound derived from turmeric’s rhizomes. Many clinical trials have been performed on curcumin, and the results have been optimistic so far.
Simply put, curcumin has been known to have many beneficial qualities, like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anticancer properties. 
Unfortunately, curcumin is not exceptionally bioavailable if we eat turmeric alone. But if you combine it with piperine, the main ingredient in black pepper, the body isbetter able to absorb it, allowing you to experience the many benefits that turmeric can provide.
Physical Benefits for Athletes
Plenty of research has been done over the past decade on turmeric, resulting in many great discoveries about spice. These studies suggest many physical benefits of turmeric for athletes that can significantly aid their physical performance.
Following are some of the most significant health benefits of turmeric for athletes.
Help Prevent Exercise-induced Muscle Damage
If you fall or twist your ankle, taking a turmeric supplement probably won’t help much unless you’ve already taken it for a while.
This is because curcumin has been found to be more effective at preventing swelling than reducing it, which may help with exercise-induced damage when taken to provide long-term support. This is why top athletes like our founder and professional footballer Thomas Robson-Kanuswear by taking turmeric regularlyin order to reap the benefits.A recent paper published in Sports Medicinelooked at curcumin’s impact, specifically related to muscle injury. Overall, the article summarised:
“Clearly, curcumin shows promising effects to blunt the negative effects of damaging exercise.”
By far, the most considerable benefit of turmeric is the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. But to understand how curcumin works, you must know how inflammation occurs in your body.
Inflammation is a natural biological process where your body’s white blood cells (WBCs) and the compounds that protect you from foreign microorganisms, like viruses or bacteria. This entire process induces increased blood flow to the injury or infection spot.
For a short time, inflammation may be beneficial for your body, as it helps support your health and keep your body repairing itself from any injury. Though, it’s not an ideal process, as your body might mistakenly think it’s being attacked when it’s not. Inflammation for long periods can be led to swelling, irritation, and discomfort.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects enable it to help stop inflammation by regulating factors, cytokines, protein kinases, enzymes, and many other sub-processes and compounds involved in inflammation. 
This means that curcumin can suppress the inflammation impacts when your body thinks it’s being attacked. In fact, scientists have found proof that curcumin could actually be as effective as an anti-inflammatory as ibuprofen or aspirin. 
Treat Arthritis (Joint)
Owing to its anti-inflammatory traits, curcumin has been shown to help with conditions caused by mistaken inflammation, like rheumatoid arthritis. There have been plenty of tests on the cell cultures and animals that suggest curcumin could be used adequately to help minister inflammatory disorders such as arthritis  
Reduced Muscle Soreness Following Exercise
After a sweaty workout, the muscles can sometimes hurt, becoming sore and inflamed. Turmeric has been proven to reduce muscle damage, thus decreasing muscle inflammation.
In a study, fifty-nine moderately trained males and females were assigned to take a 50 mg, 200 mg dose of curcumin or a placebo for eight weeks. Among them, who took 200 mg not only noticed reduced levels of soreness after an intense workout but also were found to have decreased creatine kinase levels (a marker for muscle damage).
Improved Athletic Performance
In 2015, researchers set out to know whether or not curcumin had any influence during physical exercise since there was insufficient data at the time. Their results were quite promising.
Researchers divided male mice into four groups that were dosed with different levels of curcumin and then subjected the mice to various rigorous activities. They discovered that curcumin dosage dependently enhanced the mice’s toleration during exercise as well as lowered the levels of lactate, ammonia, and other harmful toxic chemicals.
Muscular glycogen levels, a vital muscle energy source, apparently improved. However, more research can determine the exact effect on humans. 
Antidepressant Benefits Turmeric May Have
Besides the physical benefits of turmeric for athletes, it may also have neurological miracles. A random study of depressed mice revealed that curcumin dependently works as an efficacious antidepressant. Mice that were routinely given curcumin doses were more sporty and had more brain task in their hippocampus. 
Turmeric for Female Athletes
Thanks to its already impressive list of benefits for athletes, turmeric has also been shown to have several unique advantages for female athletes.
Menstrual cycles can sometimes be very painful for women. Experiencing severe period cramps are significant deterrence against going to the gym for workouts. Numerous studies on curcumin have found that the substance can decrease the magnitude and pain during periods.
Curcumin has also been found to have antispasmodic features that help with period cramps. 
Furthermore, turmeric also appears to lower weight gain and help with fat loss. A random study revealed that mice that were fed curcumin daily with their diets showed significantly less weight gain and even lower cholesterol levels. Researchers suggest that curcumin delays the growth of fat cells, helping to deter obesity. 
Recommended Turmeric Dosage for Athletes
Presently, no official recommendations on the consumption of turmeric. It is, however, always advised to stay within the recommended turmeric dosage listed on the supplement bottle.
Also, no official recommendation for curcumin extract supplements either as far as dosages are concerned.
However, research recommends varying amounts depending on which disease you are taking turmeric. One suggests that ingesting 500 mg of turmeric thrice daily for eight weeks can help with itchy or dry skin. 
Another study published in 2010 suggests consuming 500 mg of turmeric extract twice daily for 2-3 months can treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis. 
You may need to pick curcumin over a turmeric supplement to see specific benefits. The reason is that turmeric supplements contain 3-5% curcumin instead of 95% fresh turmeric extracts. 
Always Pair it with Piperine.
If you ever decide to take a turmeric or curcumin supplement, it is essential to pair your dose with an adequate amount of piperine (black pepper extract). Piperine is a bioactive alkaloid chemical in black pepper. One study recommends adding 20mg of piperine to 2 grams of curcumin can uplift the curcumin’s absorption by up to 2000%. 
As a whole, turmeric curcumin supplementation is generally considered safe. There is, however, the slight possibility of specific side effects happening. Some of these include:
- Digestion Issues
- Mild Headache
- Nauseatic Feel
While purchasing your supplements, make sure you are buying from a reputable distributor. Some distributors will add fillers, including wheat, rye, or barley flour, which may trigger problems for people who are gluten intolerant or have a celiac disorder. Other times there may be toxic chemicals and substances added which are not on the label, such as lead.  
Turmeric curcumin supplementation has been indicated to be very healthy due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The health benefits of turmeric for athletes are too good to pass up! Athletes that wish to increase their physical performance and speed up their recovery after a heavy and rigorous workout would do well to incorporate turmeric into their diet.
As always, be sure to visit your healthcare provider before you start taking any supplements.
AMVital is proud to provide athletes with high-quality supplements that have been clinically proven to function. We constantly aspire to make our business more transparent, so you can be confident about what you get.
If you’re looking for a natural strategy to enhance and support your health, check out our Wellness Series line of products!
Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009;14(2):141-53.
Funk JL, Oyarzo JN, Frye JB, et al. Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis. J Nat Prod. 2006;69(3):351-5.
Perkins, Kimberly, et al. “Efficacy of Curcuma for Treatment of Osteoarthritis” Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicinevol. 22,1 (2016): 156-165.
Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Clin Interv Aging. 2014;9:451-8.
Daily, James W et al. “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials”Journal of medicinal foodvol. 19,8 (2016): 717-29.