Any athlete will understand that being injured is both physically and mentally draining. When you have committed to a training programme every fibre in your body wants to see it through - especially if you are preparing for a big game, tournament, competition or need to be at the top of your game week-in, week-out within a league.
Of course, when a professional athlete is injured they will be given a rehab programme by their team. If you’re an individual, you may be following your own rehab schedule to slowly build your body back to full strength. Either way, you might be looking for other things that can help speed up your recovery - whether that’s sleep and rest, diet, ice baths or anything else you can think of and get your hands on.
One of these remedies which has been widely reported by athletes to aid the recovery process is curcumin - the main active ingredient found in turmeric.
In this blog post, we run through some of the reported benefits of curcumin to recovering athletes. If you have experienced any of the below, we would love to hear your story.
Turmeric vs. Curcumin
Most of us know what turmeric is. It’s ‘that yellow-coloured spice that makes food taste great’. But turmeric is not really what provides us with a health boost. Instead, it’s curcumin, which is one of the main substrates present in the turmeric root.
Unfortunately, curcumin is not exceptionally bioavailable if we just eat turmeric on its own. But if you combine it with piperine, the main ingredient in black pepper, the body is better able to absorb it, allowing you to experience the many benefits that turmeric can provide.
Turmeric to help prevent exercise-induced muscle damage
If you fall or twist your ankle, taking a turmeric supplement probably won’t help much, unless you’ve already been taking it for a while.
This is because curcumin has been found to be more effective at preventing swelling than reducing it, meaning it may help with exercise-induced damage when taken to provide long-term support. This is why top athletes like our founder and professional footballer Thomas Robson-Kanu swear by taking turmeric regularly in order to reap the benefits.
A recent paper published in Sports Medicine, looked at the impact of curcumin specifically relating to muscle injury. Overall, the article summarised:
“Clearly, curcumin shows promise as a strategy to blunt the negative effects of damaging exercise”.
Using turmeric to help with DOMS
Some athletes may also use turmeric on an ongoing basis to reduce the symptoms caused by DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
Interestingly, DOMS is different from the pain you might feel during your workout. This is something different, and it should be taken more seriously. For example, if you begin to feel soreness while lifting weights or running, this could be an acute strain, which is different and more serious. When this happens, you should stop exercising so as to prevent further damage.
For most, DOMS appears between 6-8 hours after a workout and lasts for several days. But this varies from person to person. Symptoms can disappear after 24 hours, but they can also last up to a week, which can be problematic for athletes or keen gym-goers.
When suffering from DOMS, you will experience a reduced range of motion in the affected area, a greater sensitivity to shock, and also a decrease in the amount of torque you can generate, according to a study by Cheung et al, and this can increase your risk of injury. Again, this can be problematic for athletes and those that love the gym.
Currently, most people treat DOMS symptoms with ice or an ice bath, massage, rest or painkillers. Although all of these can be effective, adding curcumin into your long-term diet and combining it with other effective treatments may also help with DOMS.
Adding Turmeric to Your Diet
If you suffer from an injury or condition that causes you to experience pain or muscle discomfort, then it may help to consider adding curcumin to your diet. But this doesn’t mean you should just go to the grocery store, buy some curry spice, and start adding it to your food.
In fact, most turmeric powders out there contain very little curcumin, making them virtually ineffective as a treatment.
So, if you want to take advantage of curcumin, you should be going for more specialty products that contain raw turmeric that is high in curcumin. The Turmeric Co.’s turmeric shots are made using a proprietary recipe that has been researched and developed for years with numerous reviews and case studies.
It combines pure, all-natural turmeric root with other superfoods, such as ginger, pomegranate, and coconut, to support the bioavailability of curcumin, meaning your body can absorb it more easily and use it to promote good overall health.
If you’re interested in seeing the impact turmeric can have, consider committing to taking one of The Turmeric Co.’s turmeric shots per day.