Background: Strenuous, high-volume exercise is often associated with inflammation and joint pain. Cissus quadrangularis (CQ) has been reported to have anti-inflammatory activity. The purpose of our study was to determine the therapeutic effects of CQ supplementation in healthy, exercise-trained men with joint-specific pain.
Methods: Twenty-nine men between the ages of 20 and 46 years, who reportedly experienced chronic joint pain as a result of strenuous exercise, participated in our pilot study. All men received CQ 3200 mg daily for 8 weeks. Before and after the 8-week intervention period, subjects completed a questionnaire to determine their degree of joint pain (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Index of Osteoarthritis [WOMAC]). Clinical measures (eg, heart rate, blood pressure, blood biomarkers) were also collected for each subject pre- (baseline) and post-intervention.
Results: Subject ratings for multiple variables within the WOMAC Index improved (decreased) significantly (P < 0.05), with the subject mean total WOMAC score decreasing from 25.4 ± 2.4 to 17.4 ± 2.1 (~31%), pre- to post-intervention. No clinical measure was significantly impacted by use of CQ supplementation.
Conclusion: An 8-week course of supplementation with CQ reduced joint pain in a sample of 29 young, otherwise healthy, exercise-trained men. Additional study is needed to extend these findings, including comparison with a placebo-controlled cohort, and possibly, examining effects of CQ use in women and older adult subjects.