New Research: High Bioavailability Curcumin Linked to Enhanced Exercise Performance and Recovery

New Research: High Bioavailability Curcumin Linked to Enhanced Exercise Performance and Recovery

Do you struggle with soreness post workout? Sometimes keep you off the mat or the gym entirely?

Researchers from The University of Queensland, University of Sydney and RDC Clinical have revealed in a recent study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, the incredible benefits of high bioavailability curcumin and its role in improving soreness induced by intense exercise.

What is curcumin?

Curcumin is the main active compound found in turmeric. This chemical is a strong antioxidant that has attracted the attention of researchers for its medicinal properties. In relation to sports nutrition, one of the central benefits that curcumin has been linked to is its natural anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

The study

The researchers recruited 28 participants: healthy males aged 18 - 35 who had experience in strength training. Randomly split into two groups, the experimental group was given a beverage containing the high bioavailability curcumin. The control group was given a placebo beverage.

All participants consumed their beverage before and after the workout, which involved a warm-up, stretch, leg press, and a resistance leg exercise to the point of exhaustion.

The researchers measured their thigh circumference, lactate levels, IL-10, and creatine kinase pre-workout and at intervals of 1, 2, 3, 24, 48 and 72 hours post-exercise.

Key Findings

The results revealed three central findings that support curcumin as a beneficial ingredient for enhancing performance and recovery...

  1. Faster recovery

The first key finding was that the experimental group reported lower levels of pain 48 hours after the workout compared to the control group. This logically suggests that they would be able to resume training sooner, and more frequent training sessions that aren’t hindered by DOMS may also translate to higher levels of performance in the experimental group.

  1. Reduced build-up of lactic acid

Secondly, the levels of capillary lactate in the experimental group were lower immediately post-exercise compared to the control group. Lactate build-up is associated with muscular fatigue, so this finding provides a potential explanation for the higher strength that was maintained by the experimental group during the third set of the leg press. The researchers believe that the curcumin acted as a buffer to reduce the production of lactic acid.

  1. Anti-inflammatory effect

Finally, the experimental group experienced a quicker return to their regular thigh circumference than the control group. This indicates that they had less swelling from extra-cellular fluid, which is a marker of inflammation and associated with decreased athletic performance. The cause of this may be the higher blood levels of IL-10 that were found in the experimental group 24 hours after the training session. IL-10 (Interleukin 10) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that maintains the balance of the immune response.


DOMS is a natural response to intense exercise. But sometimes it can be so debilitating that it keeps us off the mats. Advancement of the science in food technologies and performance studies is allowing the response to be a little less severe. And if you’re anything like us, we will do whatever it takes to get back on the mat feeling good the next day.

Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, we experience the same thing. This is one of the fundamental reasons we created CMBT Reload the way we did. We included the Curcumin C3 Complex with Bioperine in our formula for this exact reason. Curcumin C3 Complex is the foremost clinically studied natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making it the gold standard for tumeric extracts. The addition of Bioperine increases the bioavailability of the Curcumin C3 Complex and has also been proven to enhance absorption of nutrients by up to 30%.

So you’re not only getting the recovery benefits you need from protein post workout, but also the added anti-inflammatory benefits of this amazing ingredient duo!

Pro Tip: Get your double dose of high bioavailability curcumin in CMBT RELOAD by fuelling up before or after your workout with our delicious peanut butter & choc protein balls. Click here for the recipe.

Curcumin Improves Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and Post-exercise Lactate Accumulation

Authors: Alistair R. Mallard, David Briskey, Andrew Richards, BExSSc & Amanda Rao
DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2020.1796885

Journal Of Dietary Supplements