Turmeric supplement accelerates post-match recovery in elite footballers

Consuming turmeric – the oriental spice often used in cooking - accelerates post-match recovery in professional footballers, a study has shown.

Turmeric supplement accelerates post-match recovery in elite footballers

Image Credit: Nottingham Trent University

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University found that drinking a 60 ml turmeric drink twice-a-day allowed players to return to their pre-game fitness faster than those who did not.

Playing football causes muscle damage in players and an inflammatory response – and their rapid recovery is crucial to optimising their next performance and reducing injury risk.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin – known to have anti-inflammatory properties – and previous studies have found that curcumin supplementation can reduce soreness following muscle-damaging exercise.

This process appears to be aided by a reduction in pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood, known as cytokines, which increase in response to a stress, such as intense exercise.

The Nottingham researchers are the first to demonstrate that a curcumin-containing supplement can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations in the blood and muscle soreness in elite professional footballers.

The supplements used in the study were provided by the Turmeric Co. and players were split into two groups, those who drank the turmeric shot and those who did not. Leg and whole-body soreness and markers of inflammation in the blood were measured at various stages for up to three days post-match.

The team found that the turmeric group returned to baseline  levels of subjective soreness and blood markers of inflammation quicker than the group that did not consume turmeric.

Our findings suggest that the turmeric supplement accelerated players’ recovery after matches, allowing them to return to their optimum fitness level more quickly,”

Dr Dave Clayton, Lead Researcher, Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology.

He said: “Elite footballers have a physically demanding schedule, often playing up to three matches in a 7-day period. This causes a large degree of inflammation and pain after games. If this is not alleviated, previous research has shown this can result in poorer performance in their next match.

“Our study suggests that a turmeric supplement, consumed as an easy to drink 60mL shot twice a day, can reduce the degree of inflammatory and muscle soreness that elite players experience after a match.”

There are various products that are marketed to aid recovery from strenuous exercise. This pilot study provides some mechanistic insight that turmeric maybe a convenient and viable method to boost recovery". 

Dr Ian Varley, Fellow researcher.

The Turmeric Co.’s formula was developed at the beginning of my football career to support my recovery from a severe injury. Sharing my personal experience using the shots and publicising reviews from customers can only go so far, so this scientific validation gives further peace of mind to those who are suffering from inflammation and seek a remedy with no side effects.

We look forward to working further with Nottingham Trent University to highlight the many benefits of natural, functional nutrition.”

Thomas Robson-Kanu, Founder and CEO, The Turmeric Co.

Journal reference:

Clayton, D. J., et al. (2023) Turmeric supplementation improves markers of recovery in elite male footballers: a pilot study. Frontiers in Nutrition. doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2023.1175622.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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