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Effect of curcumin supplementation on exercise-induced muscle damage: a narrative review

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posted on 2023-03-01, 16:38 authored by K Nanavati, K Rutherfurd-Markwick, SJ Lee, Nicolette BishopNicolette Bishop, A Ali

Curcumin, a natural polyphenol extracted from turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. In the past few decades, curcumin’s ability to impact chronic inflammatory conditions such as metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and cancer has been widely researched, along with growing interest in understanding its role in exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). EIMD impacts individuals differently depending on the type (resistance exercise, high-intensity interval training, and running), intensity, and duration of the exercise. Exercise disrupts the muscles’ ultrastructure, raises inflammatory cytokine levels, and can cause swelling in the affected limb, a reduction in range of motion (ROM), and a reduction in muscular force-producing capacity. This review focuses on the metabolism, pharmacokinetics of various brands of curcumin supplements, and the effect of curcumin supplementation on EIMD regarding muscle soreness, activity of creatine kinase (CK), and production of inflammatory markers. Curcumin supplementation in the dose range of 90–5000 mg/day can decrease the subjective perception of muscle pain intensity, increase antioxidant capacity, and reduce CK activity, which reduces muscle damage when consumed close to exercise. Consumption of curcumin also improves muscle performance and has an anti-inflammatory effect, downregulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8. Curcumin may also improve oxidative capacity without hampering training adaptations in untrained and recreationally active individuals. The optimal curcumin dose to ameliorate EIMD is challenging to assess as its effect depends on the curcumin concentration in the supplement and its bioavailability.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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European Journal of Nutrition






3835 - 3855




  • VoR (Version of Record)

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© The Authors

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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Prof Lettie Bishop. Deposit date: 1 March 2023

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