The Effects of Pre-Exercise Ginger Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Phytother Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):887-93. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5328. Epub 2015 Mar 18.


Ginger possesses analgesic and pharmacological properties mimicking non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs. We aimed to determine if ginger supplementation is efficacious for attenuating muscle damage and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following high-intensity resistance exercise. Following a 5-day supplementation period of placebo or 4 g ginger (randomized groups), 20 non-weight trained participants performed a high-intensity elbow flexor eccentric exercise protocol to induce muscle damage. Markers associated with muscle damage and DOMS were repeatedly measured before supplementation and for 4 days following the exercise protocol. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed one repetition maximum lift decreased significantly 24 h post-exercise in both groups (p < 0.005), improved 48 h post-exercise only in the ginger group (p = 0.002), and improved at 72 (p = 0.021) and 96 h (p = 0.044) only in the placebo group. Blood creatine kinase significantly increased for both groups (p = 0.015) but continued to increase only in the ginger group 72 (p = 0.006) and 96 h (p = 0.027) post-exercise. Visual analog scale of pain was significantly elevated following eccentric exercise (p < 0.001) and was not influenced by ginger. In conclusion, 4 g of ginger supplementation may be used to accelerate recovery of muscle strength following intense exercise but does not influence indicators of muscle damage or DOMS.

Keywords: Zingiber officinale; antiinflammatory; exercise; gingerol; nutraceutical.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Myalgia / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Young Adult
  • Zingiber officinale / chemistry*


  • Analgesics
  • Creatine Kinase