Background: Phyllanthus amarus (PA) is a herbal plant containing antioxidant compounds that scavenge free radicals. The reduced oxidative stress may decrease muscle damage leading to early recovery from muscle soreness. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of PA powder on oxidative stress, muscle damage, leukocyte counts, inflammation, and muscle soreness after a single bout of high-intensity exercise.
Methods: Twelve men participated in two 3-day phases separated by a 1-week washout in a randomized double-blinded, crossover design. On day 1, randomly divided participants ingested two capsules of either PA (PA group) or placebo (PLA group) 20 min before a single bout of cycling at high intensity for 20 min followed by four capsules (two capsules after lunch and dinner), and six capsules/day for the next 2 days. Blood samples were collected before, immediately after, and 24 and 48 h after the exercise. Pain threshold was measured at the mid-thigh on both legs.
Results: Malondialdehyde concentration in the PA group was lower than that in the PLA group (p < 0.05) 48 h after high-intensity exercise. Vitamin C concentration was greater in the PA than in the PLA group (p < 0.05) immediately after high-intensity exercise. Pain threshold in both legs in the PA group was higher than in the PLA group 24 and 48 h after high-intensity exercise. There were no significant differences in creatine kinase, leukocyte counts or inflammation between groups.
Conclusion: Acute PA supplementation reduced oxidative stress and muscle soreness induced by high-intensity exercise.