Nutritional and Pharmacological Interventions to Expedite Recovery Following Muscle-Damaging Exercise in Older Adults: A Narrative Review of the Literature

J Aging Phys Act. 2019 Dec 1;27(4):914-928. doi: 10.1123/japa.2018-0351.


Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) manifests as muscle soreness, inflammation, and reductions in force generating capacity that can last for several days after exercise. The ability to recover and repair damaged tissues following EIMD is impaired with age, with older adults (≥50 years old) experiencing a slower rate of recovery than their younger counterparts do for the equivalent exercise bout. This narrative review discusses the literature examining the effect of nutritional or pharmacological supplements taken to counter the potentially debilitating effects of EIMD in older adults. Studies have assessed the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin C and/or E, or higher protein diets on recovery in older adults. Each intervention showed some promise for attenuating EIMD, but, overall, there is a paucity of available data in this population, and more studies are required to determine the influence of nutrition or pharmacological interventions on EIMD in older adults.

Keywords: exercise recovery; masters athletes; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Myalgia* / etiology
  • Myalgia* / therapy
  • Recovery of Function
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Vitamins