We examined the effect of curcumin (CUR) ingestion before or after exercise on changes in muscle damage and inflammatory responses after exercise. We conducted two parallel experiments with different CUR ingestion timings using a double-blind crossover. In Exp. 1, ten healthy men ingested 180 mg d-1 of CUR or placebo (PLA) 7 days before exercise. In Exp. 2, ten other healthy men ingested 180 mg d-1 of CUR or PLA 7 days after exercise. They performed 30 maximal isokinetic (120°s-1 ) eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors using an isokinetic dynamometer, and this was repeated with the other arm ≥4 weeks later. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque of the elbow flexors, elbow joint range of motion (ROM), muscle soreness, and serum creatine kinase (CK) activity were measured before, immediately after, and 1-7 days after exercise. Plasma interleukin-8 (IL-8) was measured before, immediately after, 12 hours after, and 1-7 days after exercise. The changes were compared over time. In Exp. 1, no significant differences were found between CUR and PLA subjects for each parameter. However, increases in IL-8 were significantly reduced 12 hours after exercise when CUR was ingested before exercise. In Exp. 2, compared to the PLA subjects, MVC torque and ROM were higher 3-7 days and 2-7 days after exercise (P < 0.05), respectively, whereas muscle soreness and CK activity were lower 3-6 days and 5-7 days after exercise (P < 0.05), respectively, in CUR subjects. CUR ingestion before exercise could attenuate acute inflammation, and after exercise could attenuate muscle damage and facilitate faster recovery.
Keywords: delayed-onset muscle soreness; eccentric contractions; elbow flexors; maximal voluntary contraction.
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