Curcumin is known to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. We have reported that acute curcumin ingestion attenuates eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. This study aimed to examine the effect of curcumin ingestion timing (before or after exercise) on the changes in muscle damage markers after eccentric exercise. In this randomized, single-blind, parallel design study, 24 healthy young men performed 30 maximal isokinetic (120º/s) eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors using an isokinetic dynamometer. Subjects were randomly assigned to ingest 180 mg/d of oral curcumin either 7 d before (PRE) or 4 d after exercise (POST) or 180 mg/d of oral placebo 4 d after exercise (CON). The 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 1-4 d after exercise. Changes in these variables were compared over time. In the POST group, ROM were higher at 3-4 d and muscle soreness was lower at 3 d after exercise compared with the CON group (p<0.05). However, in the PRE group, there were no significant differences compared with the CON group in changes in ROM and muscle soreness. Meanwhile, there were no significant differences among the groups in terms of changes in MVC torque and serum CK activity. Our results suggest that curcumin ingestion after exercise had a more beneficial effect in attenuating muscle soreness.
Keywords: delayed-onset muscle soreness; eccentric contractions; elbow flexors; maximal voluntary contraction; supplementation.