Effects of curcumin supplementation on sport and physical exercise: a systematic review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021;61(6):946-958. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1749025. Epub 2020 Apr 13.


Curcumin is the main phenolic compound in turmeric. It has been investigated recently due to its numerous medicinal properties and health benefits. However, few studies assessed the effects of curcumin supplementation on physical activity practice. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to assess the available evidences with human beings about the potential effects of curcumin supplementation on sport and physical exercise. This systematic review was conducted within the period from January to February, 2019, following the recommendations of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyzes (PRISMA) guidelines. The LILACS, Medline, SciELO and PubMed databases were used for the search, with no publication date limit. The following terms, with the respective Boolean operators, were searched: "curcumin" AND sports; "curcumin" AND exercise; curcumin AND "aerobic exercise"; "curcumin" AND "resistance exercise"; "curcumin" AND "endurance exercise"; "curcumin" AND "strength exercise". Eleven papers were selected for this review. Most of the studies displayed positive effects of the curcumin supplementation for athletes and physical exercise practitioners, and no side effects were reported. Participants supplemented with curcumin displayed reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, decreased pain and muscle damage, superior recovery and muscle performance, better psychological and physiological responses (thermal and cardiovascular) during training and improved gastrointestinal function. Curcumin supplementation appears to be safe and beneficial for sport and physical exercise in human beings. PROSPERO (CRD42019126763).

Keywords: Turmeric; antioxidant; exercise; nutritional supplements; sports.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Curcumin*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Sports*


  • Curcumin