Eccentric exercise is known to bring about microstructural damage to muscle, initiating an inflammatory cascade involving various reactive oxygen species. This, in turn, can significantly impair physical performance over subsequent days. Taurine, a powerful endogenous antioxidant, has previously been shown to have a beneficial effect on muscle damage markers and recovery when taken for a few days to several weeks prior to eccentric exercise. However, to date no studies have looked at the effects of supplementing over the days following eccentric exercise on performance recovery. Thus, this study aimed to determine whether supplementing with taurine over three days following eccentric exercise attenuated the rise in serum creatine kinase and improved performance recovery in males. In a blinded, randomized, crossover design, ten recreationally-fit male participants completed 60 eccentric contractions of the biceps brachii muscle at maximal effort. Following this, participants were supplemented with 0.1 g∙kg-1 body weight∙day-1 of either taurine or rice flour in capsules. Over the next three mornings participants underwent blood tests for the analysis of the muscle damage marker creatine kinase and carried out performance measures on the isokinetic dynamometer. They also continued to consume the capsules in the morning and evening. The entire protocol was repeated two weeks later on the alternate arm and supplement. Significant decreases were seen in all performance measures from pre- to 24-h post-eccentric exercise (p < 0.001) for both taurine and placebo, indicating the attainment of muscle damage. Significant treatment effects were observed only for peak eccentric torque (p < 0.05). No significant time × treatment effects were observed (all p > 0.05). Serum creatine kinase levels did not significantly differ over time for either treatments, nor between treatments (p > 0.05). These findings suggest that taurine supplementation taken twice daily for 72 h following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage may help improve eccentric performance recovery of the biceps brachii.
Keywords: eccentric exercise; performance recovery; reactive oxygen species; taurine.