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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

October 26, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Many health experts, myself included, recommend exercising a minimum of several times a week. This “prescription” is challenging enough due to various factors ranging from lack of motivation to time constraints. But, some committed exercisers have an additional hurdle to overcome: DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness.

In certain cases, you can do all the right things (eat well, hydrate and rest) and still experience persistent muscle pain for hours and even days after you exercise. There are numerous alternative and conventional therapies that may provide symptomatic relief, including acupuncture, hydrotherapy and massage. However, in today’s column I’m going to focus on several dietary supplements which may also be of value for anyone experiencing DOMS.

Research indicates that drinking a milk-based protein powder immediately after working out is “beneficial in attenuating decreases in muscle performance and increases in active DOMS”. Some studies have combined milk protein with carbohydrates. Please note that the latter is not necessary to hasten exercise recovery and reduce muscle aches. Also, those who are dairy intolerant or vegans can experiment using plant sourced protein powders with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). To the best of my knowledge, there is no solid research on the use of plant protein powder to mitigate DOMS. That said, there is some data suggesting that the use of supplemental BCAAs (isoleucine, leucine and valine) limits muscle damage and soreness.

If protein shakes aren’t your thing or you require additional relief, you might consider three evidence based supplements: 1) pomegranate extract; 2) black tea extract; 3) curcumin. Ellagitannins, a class of phytochemicals present in pomegranates, have been shown to enhance physical performance and recovery after eccentric exercises in two recent studies. A black tea extract, standardized for a high concentration of theaflavins, likewise decreased DOMS and additionally reduced cortisol (a stress hormone) and oxidative stress in college aged weight lifters. Finally, curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, not only eases exercise induced muscle pain, but also relieves arthritic discomfort. All three of these food based supplements are generally regarded as safe and may even confer a host of cardiovascular and neurological “side benefits”.

Click on the following links to learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column:

Study 1 - Effect of Milk-Based Carbohydrate-Protein Supplement Timing on (link)

Study 2 - Acute Milk-Based Protein–CHO Supplementation Attenuates Exercise(link)

Study 3 - Effects of Dietary Carbohydrate on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (link)

Study 4 - Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation Before Squat Exercise (link)

Study 5 - BCAA Supplementation Does Not Enhance Athletic Performance but(link)

Study 6 – The Effect of Pomegranate Juice Supplementation on Strength (link)

Study 7 – Ellagitannin Consumption Improves Strength Recovery 2-3 d After (link)

Study 8 - The Effects of Theaflavin-Enriched Black Tea Extract on Muscle (link)

Study 9 – BounceBack™ Capsules for Reduction of DOMS After Eccentric (link)

Study 10 - Efficacy and Safety of Meriva®, a Curcumin-Phosphatidylcholine (link)

Branched-Chain Amino Acids May Reduce DOMS

Source: J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):529S-532S. (link)

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5 Comments & Updates to “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness”

  1. rob Says:

    Funny im reading this after had having and intense workout-out, a few hours ago, and can feel a bit of soreness, lol. I use BCAAs some of the time, some times mixed mixed with whey sometimes on its own, also use a tumeric supplement almost daily with food. These help but if i dont eat well afterwards and dont get a goods night sleep ill for sure have some soreness next day.

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Rob,

    It sounds like you’re on the right track! :-)

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update: Collagen supplement supports exercise recovery …

    http://www.jissn.com/content/pdf/1550-2783-11-S1-P48.pdf

    Effects of BioCell Collagen® on connective tissue protection and functional recovery from exercise in healthy adults: a pilot study

    Background: The extracellular matrix (ECM) of muscle, tendon, and ligament is sensitive to exercise-induced mechanical stimuli. Exercise-induced muscle damage is associated with not only myofibrillar injury, but also the involvement of connective tissue elements such as collagen, proteoglycans (PG), tendon and ligament. However, little is known about the impact of nutritional agents and metabolic optimization for enhancing adaptation and recovery of the connective tissue elements that support musculoskeletal function. BioCell Collagen® (BCC) is a patented hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract that contains a naturally-occurring matrix of hydrolyzed collagen type II, and low molecular weight glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the potential impact of daily supplementation with BCC on functional indices and molecular biomarkers of recovery from intense exercise, and identify effect sizes on various outcome measures.

    Methods: Eight healthy, recreationally active subjects (29.3 ± 9.2 y, 173.1 ± 8.2 cm, 77.3 ± 13.5 kg) volunteered to participate in this study and were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled fashion to ingest either 3 g of placebo or BioCell Collagen® daily over a 6-week period prior to an upper body muscle-damaging resistance exercise challenge (UBC) on day 43, and a re-challenge on day 46. At the end of the 6-week supplementation period, participants completed a UBC consisting of 8 sets of barbell bench press at 75% of body weight load to exhaustion with a 4/0/X repetition tempo and 90 seconds rest between sets; the UBC exercise challenge was repeated 72 hours later to assess recovery of function. Consent to publish the results was obtained from all participants.

    Results: Daily intake of BCC for 6-weeks attenuated an increase in serum markers for muscle tissue damage in response to bench press exercise, creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and C-reactive protein (CRP). Change in CK: +20 U/L (BCC) vs. +4726 U/L (placebo); change in LDH: -3.5 U/L (BCC) vs. +82.9 U/L (placebo); change in CRP: +0.07 mg/L (BCC) vs. +0.7 mg/L (placebo). In terms of performance, the decrement in bench press repetitions to failure was only 49% (day 43) and 43% (day 46) in the BCC group vs. 60% (day 43) and 55% (day 46) in the placebo group.

    Conclusion: The preliminary data of this proof-of-concept study suggests that daily intake of BCC for 6 weeks may favorably impact key biochemical markers of connective and skeletal muscle tissue damage and enhance stress resilience following intense resistance exercise. Supplementation was well tolerated and did not adversely affect markers of health or side effect profiles.

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update: Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4342081/

    J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Feb 19;12:10.

    The effects PCSO-524®, a patented marine oil lipid and omega-3 PUFA blend derived from the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on indirect markers of muscle damage and inflammation after muscle damaging exercise in untrained men: a randomized, placebo controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of PCSO-524®, a marine oil lipid and n-3 LC PUFA blend, derived from New Zealand green- lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on markers of muscle damage and inflammation following muscle damaging exercise in untrained men.

    METHODS: Thirty two untrained male subjects were randomly assigned to consume 1200 mg/d of PCSO- 524® (a green-lipped mussel oil blend) or placebo for 26 d prior to muscle damaging exercise (downhill running), and continued for 96 h following the muscle damaging exercise bout. Blood markers of muscle damage (skeletal muscle slow troponin I, sTnI; myoglobin, Mb; creatine kinase, CK), and inflammation (tumor necrosis factor, TNF-α), and functional measures of muscle damage (delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS; pressure pain threshold, PPT; knee extensor joint range of motion, ROM; isometric torque, MVC) were assessed pre- supplementation (baseline), and multiple time points post-supplementation (before and after muscle damaging exercise). At baseline and 24 h following muscle damaging exercise peripheral fatigue was assessed via changes in potentiated quadriceps twitch force (∆Qtw,pot) from pre- to post-exhaustive cycling ergometer test in response to supra-maximal femoral nerve stimulation.

    RESULTS: Compared to placebo, supplementation with the green-lipped mussel oil blend significantly attenuated (p < 0.05) sTnI and TNF-α at 2, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h., Mb at 24, 48, 72, 96 h., and CK-MM at all-time points following muscle damaging exercise, significantly reduced (p < 0.05) DOMS at 72 and 96 h post-muscle damaging exercise, and resulted in significantly less strength loss (MVC) and provided a protective effect against joint ROM loss at 96 h post- muscle damaging exercise. At 24 h after muscle damaging exercise perceived pain was significantly greater (p < 0.05) compared to baseline in the placebo group only. Following muscle damaging exercise ∆Qtw,pot was significantly less (p < 0.05) on the green-lipped mussel oil blend compared to placebo.

    CONCLUSION: Supplementation with a marine oil lipid and n-3 LC PUFA blend (PCSO-524®), derived from the New Zealand green lipped mussel, may represent a useful therapeutic agent for attenuating muscle damage and inflammation following muscle damaging exercise.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Update: Curcumin supplementation seems promising …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25795285

    Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Mar 21.

    Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

    INTRODUCTION: Oral curcumin decreases inflammatory cytokines and increases muscle regeneration in mice.

    PURPOSE: To determine effects of curcumin on muscle damage, inflammation and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in humans.

    METHOD: Seventeen men completed a double-blind randomized-controlled crossover trial to estimate the effects of oral curcumin supplementation (2.5 g twice daily) versus placebo on single-leg jump performance and DOMS following unaccustomed heavy eccentric exercise. Curcumin or placebo was taken 2 d before to 3 d after eccentric single-leg press exercise, separated by 14-d washout. Measurements were made at baseline, and 0, 24 and 48-h post-exercise comprising: (a) limb pain (1-10 cm visual analogue scale; VAS), (b) muscle swelling, (c) single-leg jump height, and (d) serum markers of muscle damage and inflammation. Standardized magnitude-based inference was used to define outcomes.

    RESULTS: At 24 and 48-h post-exercise, curcumin caused moderate-large reductions in pain during single-leg squat (VAS scale -1.4 to -1.7; 90 %CL: ±1.0), gluteal stretch (-1.0 to -1.9; ±0.9), squat jump (-1.5 to -1.1; ± 1.2) and small reductions in creatine kinase activity (-22-29 %; ±21-22 %). Associated with the pain reduction was a small increase in single-leg jump performance (15 %; 90 %CL ± 12 %). Curcumin increased interleukin-6 concentrations at 0-h (31 %; ±29 %) and 48-h (32 %; ±29 %) relative to baseline, but decreased IL-6 at 24-h relative to post-exercise (-20 %; ±18 %).

    CONCLUSIONS: Oral curcumin likely reduces pain associated with DOMS with some evidence for enhanced recovery of muscle performance. Further study is required on mechanisms and translational effects on sport or vocational performance.

    Be well!

    JP

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