Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

about us





Turmeric reduces post strength training muscle damage

A sports supplement based on turmeric [Curcuma longa] reduces damage to muscles caused by strength training. And athletes who take the supplement report relief from stiff muscles after training. At least, that is the outcome of an ***ahem*** totally independent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, financed by the manufacturer of that supplement.

Turmeric reduces post strength training muscle damage
The product tested by researchers at the American Medicus Research company goes by the name of BounceBack. BounceBack is made by Mannatech. Mannatech is a controversial company that has made claims that the supplements that it sells cure diseases. Early in 2009 the company paid an out-of-court settlement of several million dollars to avoid a case brought by duped customers coming to trial. Mannatech now wants to clear its name, so it needs publications that prove the effectiveness of its products so its image is restored. This piece of research is an example of the kind of studies that the new-style Mannatech is commissioning.

The trial involved ten test subjects taking two capsules a day of BounceBack. The daily dose contains a couple of hundred milligrams of fungal enzymes, 421 milligrams of a turmeric extract, 90 milligrams of a phytosterol mix containing beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol, 20 milligrams of vitamin C and a couple of milligrams of resveratrol.

The test subjects took the supplements for 33 days. On day 30 they went to a laboratory where they had to do squats on a Smith machine. Previously the researchers had recorded how many squats the subjects were able to do in five minutes. During the test the subjects had to do twice as many reps. The researchers helped with the upward movement, but not with the downward movement. On another occasion the test subjects did the same, but were given a placebo.

On the days after the tests the researchers assessed muscle pain and muscle damage. Muscle pain was less in the subjects who had taken BounceBack. Muscle damage markers, such as the concentrations of myoglobin and creatine kinase, gave a clearer picture of what the subjects were going through.

Turmeric reduces post strength training muscle damage

The differences were not significant. But according to the researchers there's a clear trend. BounceBack reduces muscle damage after intensive exercise.

If the researchers have not tampered with the results, it's probably the turmeric extract that's the active ingredient in the supplement. Researchers speculate that curcumin, the most important bioactive substance in turmeric, has an anti-catabolic effect. Curcumin inhibits enzyme systems that break down muscle protein in muscle cells.

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Jun 5;6:14.

Curcumin, the herbal clenbuterol 12.04.2009
Turmeric: the anti-catabolic in your kitchen cupboard 12.03.2009