A study recently published in the Journal of American College of Sports Medicine shows that a combination of curcumin extract and boswellia extract, standardized for 3-O-Acetyl-11-keto-ß-boswellia acid (AKBA) 90% (Ektibaflex from Unibar, based in Houston, TX), accelerates muscle recovery post-exercise. In the blinded, randomized clinical trial, 14 healthy men and women received either the combination of curcumin and boswellia, or placebo daily for seven days prior to four days of intensified exercise sessions, with a booster dose following each session.
Exercise sessions included involved Jacob’s ladder climbing, maximum effort cycling, and downhill running. The first two activities create oxidative stress and fatigue, exacerbating muscle soreness, while the latter forces eccentric muscle contraction that causes strong muscle soreness. Palpated visual analog pain scale (VAS) for pain and pain threshold/tolerance tests were used to assess subjects’ perception of muscle soreness and pain in lower leg muscles, and blood tests were used to determine creatine kinase, myostatin, and cytokines.
Results showed that supplementation may protect muscles from injury, indicated by trends toward lower serum creatine kinase concentration particularly at days 3 and 4 when compared to placebo. Muscle injury, perceived muscle soreness, and greater loss of muscle strength was reduced in the supplement group as well, compared to placebo.
“The results of this study show an attractive potential for a supplement that will be effective for people who exercise on a regular basis or work in physically demanding occupations are prone to regular muscle damage,” said Dr. Velmurugan Shanmugham, Unibar vice president, new product development, in a president. “Given the need to manage excessive inflammation during recovery from muscle injury, there is a need to identify naturally occurring substances that have anti-inflammatory potential yet are less potent than NSAIDs and without the negative health side-effects of NSAIDs.”