Turmeric Muscle Recovery: Does It Really Work?
Turmeric Muscle Recovery: Does It Really Work?

Turmeric Muscle Recovery: Does It Really Work?

Due to its prevalent anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric muscle recovery has been explored as a way to reduce onset muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle damage following exercise. Can this spice work to calm inflammation and improve performance? Read on to learn what the evidence says about this popular supplement.

What is Turmeric

Spices have been used for centuries as a healing agent. Native to Indian cuisine, turmeric has become increasingly popular due to its emerging health benefits. It is available in supplement form as a tea, capsule, or powder.

How Does Tumeric Work

Turmeric gets its potency from curcumin. Curcumin works as an antioxidant and contains compounds that are said to be anti-inflammatory [R].

Turmeric Muscle Recovery: Does It Really Work

The risk for oxidative stress increases when taking part in physical activity, specifically high-intensity eccentric exercises with continuous muscle contractions. These activities result in exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) [R, R].

EIMD leads to an inflammatory response that affects muscles in the following ways [R, R, R]:

● Decreases muscle strength

● Decreases the range of motion (ROM)

● Localized swelling

● Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

● Increases in creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, myoglobin, transaminases (alanine

aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the blood

● Increase inflammation markers (CRP)

● Increase immune cells

● Oxidation and damage of muscle cells

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and curcumin supplementation have been studied within sports nutrition as a way to counteract the damage, recover muscles, and improve workouts.

Results of a meta-study indicate that curcumin supplementation between 150 and 1500 mg a day both before and up to 72 hours after exercise can reduce EIMD and inflammation positively affecting exercise performance [R].

What to Look for in a Turmeric Supplement

Like most supplements turmeric is not regulated. The amount of curcumin is important. Be sure there is at least 95% curcumin. Get a quality product that has no impurities and is GMP tested.

How to Take Turmeric

There is no standard dosage for turmeric. The benefits of turmeric have been in doses from 500 to 1,500 mg [R, R, R].

Absorption increases with the consumption of piperine found in black pepper [R]. 500 mg of curcumin and 20 mg of piperine have been recommended [R].

Short term use of turmeric in doses between 3 and 8 grams was found to be safe when used for up to 2 months [R].

Side Effects of Turmeric

Mild side effects such as stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea have occurred with taking 8 to 12 grams of turmeric [R, R, R].

Doses between 1,500 and 2,250 mg twice a day for a month negatively affected the heart [R].

Contraindications of Tumeric

Turmeric and curcumin supplements are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with gallbladder problems, blood clotting issues, and/or liver conditions [R].

Those with diabetes, GERD, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cancers and other hormone-sensitive conditions should check with their doctor before taking turmeric and curcumin [R].

Turmeric has been found to lower sperm count in men and may reduce fertility. It may also reduce the absorption of iron [R].

Piperine may cause adverse drug reactions in some people. It can also cause leaky gut. [R].

Risks of Turmeric

Formulations of turmeric and curcumin vary and may not all have been tested for safety [R].

Little is known about long-term use [R].

Sources of Turmeric

Turmeric can be found in the spice aisle. There is about 200 mg of curcumin in 1 tsp of fresh or ground turmeric. It can be added to any dish you wish. Cook it into your eggs, soups, or blend into a smoothie. Add it to roasted veggies and grains. Another way to get a good dose of turmeric is by making golden milk. Golden milk is a popular recipe that mixes turmeric with almond milk.

Final Thoughts on Tumeric

Turmeric has been used for centuries as a healing agent thanks to the antioxidant powers of curcumin. Research into this spice has prompted the manufacturing of supplements to get the most out of this seasoning. Though research shows it can improve muscle recovery there is still much to be explored when it comes to turmeric supplements. Though it does not seem to be toxic large doses can result in harsh side effects. If you want to take turmeric it is best to start with a low dose. For the best absorption look for a product that contains piperine and 95% curcumin. Those on medications or with any health condition may want to talk to their healthcare provider before starting a supplement regimen.


1. “Curcumin.” n.d. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed October 31, 2020.


2. Tanabe, Yoko, Kentaro Chino, Takahiro Ohnishi, Hitomi Ozawa, Hiroyuki Sagayama,

Seiji Maeda, and Hideyuki Takahashi. 2019. “Effects of Oral Curcumin Ingested before

or after Eccentric Exercise on Markers of Muscle Damage and Inflammation.”

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 29 (4):


3. Tanabe, Yoko, Seiji Maeda, Nobuhiko Akazawa, Asako Zempo-Miyaki, Youngju Choi,

Song-Gyu Ra, Atsushi Imaizumi, Yoshihiko Otsuka, and Kazunori Nosaka. 2015.

“Attenuation of Indirect Markers of Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage by

Curcumin.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 115 (9): 1949–57.


4. Fatouros, Ioannis G., and Athanasios Z. Jamurtas. 2016. “Insights into the Molecular

Etiology of Exercise-Induced Inflammation: Opportunities for Optimizing Performance.”

Journal of Inflammation Research 9 (October): 175–86.


5. Sciberras, Joseph N., Stuart Dr Galloway, Anthony Fenech, Godfrey Grech, Claude

Farrugia, Deborah Duca, and Janet Mifsud. 2015. “The Effect of Turmeric (Curcumin)

Supplementation on Cytokine and Inflammatory Marker Responses Following 2 Hours of

Endurance Cycling.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 12 (1): 5.


6. Drobnic, Franchek, Joan Riera, Giovanni Appendino, Stefano Togni, Federico

Franceschi, Xavier Valle, Antoni Pons, and Josep Tur. 2014. “Reduction of Delayed

Onset Muscle Soreness by a Novel Curcumin Delivery System (Meriva®): A

Randomised, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports

Nutrition 11 (June): 31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24982601

7. Fernández-Lázaro, Diego, Juan Mielgo-Ayuso, Jesús Seco Calvo, Alfredo Córdova

Martínez, Alberto Caballero García, and Cesar I. Fernandez-Lazaro. 2020. “Modulation

of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage, Inflammation, and Oxidative Markers by Curcumin

Supplementation in a Physically Active Population: A Systematic Review.” Nutrients 12

(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071279/

8. “Turmeric: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” n.d. Accessed

October 29, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-662/turmeric.


9. Kurup, Viswanath P., and Christy S. Barrios. 2008. “Immunomodulatory Effects of

Curcumin in Allergy.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 52 (9): 1031–39.


10. Gupta, Subash C., Sridevi Patchva, Wonil Koh, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. 2012.

“Discovery of Curcumin, a Component of Golden Spice, and Its Miraculous Biological

Activities.” Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 39 (3): 283–99.


11. Shoba, G., D. Joy, T. Joseph, M. Majeed, R. Rajendran, and P. S. Srinivas. 1998.

“Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human

Volunteers.” Planta Medica 64 (4): 353–56. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9619120/

12. Frank, Kurtis, Kamal Patel, Gregory Lopez, and Bill Willis. 2020. “Curcumin Research

Analysis,” May. https://examine.com/supplements/curcumin/.


13. Daily, James W., Mini Yang, and Sunmin Park. 2016. “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and

Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and

Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” Journal of Medicinal Food 19 (8): 717–29.


14. Burgos-Morón, Estefanía, José Manuel Calderón-Montaño, Javier Salvador, Antonio

Robles, and Miguel López-Lázaro. 2010. “The Dark Side of Curcumin.” International

Journal of Cancer. Journal International Du Cancer 126 (7): 1771–75.


15. Lao, Christopher D., Mack T. Ruffin 4th, Daniel Normolle, Dennis D. Heath, Sandra I.

Murray, Joanne M. Bailey, Martha E. Boggs, James Crowell, Cheryl L. Rock, and Dean

E. Brenner. 2006. “Dose Escalation of a Curcuminoid Formulation.” BMC

Complementary and Alternative Medicine 6 (March): 10.


16. Gupta, Subash C., Sridevi Patchva, Wonil Koh, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. 2012.

“Discovery of Curcumin, a Component of Golden Spice, and Its Miraculous Biological

Activities.” Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 39 (3): 283–99.


17. Lee, Se-Whan, Seong-Su Nah, Jin-Soo Byon, Hee Ja Ko, Sang-Ho Park, Seung-Jin

Lee, Won-Yong Shin, and Dong-Kyu Jin. 2011. “Transient Complete Atrioventricular

Block Associated with Curcumin Intake.” International Journal of Cardiology 150 (2):

e50–52. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19892416/

Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/bookthatapp-widgets.liquid