Effects of turmeric extract supplementation on inflammation and muscle damage after a half-marathon race: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2020 Jul;120(7):1531-1540. doi: 10.1007/s00421-020-04385-7. Epub 2020 May 2.


Purpose: Strenuous exercise induces inflammation and muscle damage. Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is a widely used spice that exhibits potent anti-inflammatory response and appears to decrease indirect markers of muscle damage. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of Curcuma longa L. extract (CLE) on inflammation and muscle damage after a half-marathon race.

Methods: Twenty-eight healthy, normal-weight men were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (1) CLE (3 capsules per day, 500 mg each); or (2) placebo (PLA, 3 capsules per day, 500 mg of microcrystalline cellulose). Participants received the intervention for 4 weeks and immediately before and after the half-marathon race. Creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, myoglobin, interleukins 6 and 10 were assessed at baseline, immediately before, after, and at 2, 24, and 48 h after the half-marathon race.

Results: The half-marathon race increased markers of inflammation and muscle damage. A greater increase in interleukin-10 was observed in the CLE group immediately after the competition compared to the PLA group (7.54 ± 1.45 vs 5.25 ± 0.59 pg/mL; p < 0.05; d = 0.55). Myoglobin concentration was lower 2 h after the race in participants from the CLE group compared to the PLA group (62.10 ± 8.26 vs 107.85 ± 18.45 ng/mL; p = 0.01; d = 0.86).

Conclusion: Curcuma longa L. extract supplementation leads to an increase in IL-10 and decreased myoglobin in recreational male runners after a half-marathon race.

Trial registration number: U1111-1179-6335, February 13, 2016.

Keywords: Curcuma; Exercise; Inflammation; Muscle damage.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Curcuma / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Marathon Running / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Running / physiology*


  • Plant Extracts
  • turmeric extract