A critical limit on athletes’—and even active amateurs’—capacity to maintain a steady physical training program is the phenomenon known as DOMS, or delayed-onset muscle soreness. A new clinical study1 in the peer-reviewed journal Phytotherapy Research shows that a polyphenol-rich blend of botanical extracts can alleviate that soreness and shorten athletes’ time to recovery.
Scientists and sports enthusiasts alike know that a strenuous workout can produce the discomfort, pain, swelling, tenderness, loss of strength and limited range of motion that characterize DOMS—often within 24 hours of the activity. Clinical studies have also demonstrated the capacity of polyphenols to protect against and reduce the effects of post-workout muscle damage and thus improve recovery.
So, in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover clinical investigation, scientists at the Research Center of High Performance Sport at the University of Murcia in Spain evaluated the effects of a polyphenol-rich blend of mangosteen, elderberry and pomegranate extracts, marketed by Fytexia SAS (Vendres, France) as TensLess, on a population of 18 male and female athletes.
The athlete subjects consumed either 1.5 g/day of the extract blend or a placebo for five consecutive days, with consumption on day one following a bout of eccentric exercise—half-squats—chosen to induce muscle soreness in the knee extensors and flexors. The researchers evaluated the subjects’ experience of DOMS, as well as their blood levels of muscle-damage biomarkers, before and immediately following the exercise and every day thereafter for the study’s duration.
They found that supplementation with the extract blend significantly decreased DOMS perception both within the first 24 hours following exercise and for the length of the study, with the subjects’ DOMS perception during the extract phase of the trial fully 28 percent lower than during the placebo phase. Moreover, release of creatine kinase, creatinine and myoglobin—all biomarkers associated with muscle damage—was lower during the extract phase relative to the placebo phase, too.
“Taken together,” the authors write in the study, “these positive results clearly indicate that postexercise supplementation with TensLess may preserve myocytes and reduce soreness following eccentric exercise-induced damages, and, accordingly, significantly shorten muscle recovery.” As the popularity of post-workout supplementation grows, such ingredients stand to grow more popular, themselves.
- Romain C et al. “Supplementation with a polyphenol-rich extract, Tensless, attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness and improves muscle recovery from damage after eccentric exercise.” Phytotherapy Research. Published online ahead of print August 30th, 2017.