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Plyometric exercises involve quick, powerful movements to promote speed, endurance, and strength. Loss of muscle power and delayed onset muscle soreness commonly occur after plyometric exercise. Findings from a new study suggest that curcumin maintains muscle power and reduces muscle soreness after plyometric exercise.

Curcumin in a bioactive compound produced by the plant Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family. Curcumin exhibits a wide array of beneficial health effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetes properties. It is responsible for the bright yellow pigment of turmeric, a type of spice commonly used in Indian food.

The study involved 22 healthy men and women who took either 500 milligrams of curcumin or a placebo twice daily for 10 days surrounding a single session of plyometric exercise (six days before, the day of, and three days afterward). The exercise consisted of five sets of 20 drop jumps performed from a 24-inch-high platform with a 60-second period of rest between sets. The investigators measured creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a marker of inflammation) in the participants' blood. The participants performed a vertical jump and provided subjective assessments to gauge muscle soreness pre-supplementation, 24-hours and immediately pre-exercise, immediately afterward, and 24, 48 and 72-hours post-exercise.

Both groups had elevated creatine kinase and soreness immediately after performing the exercise. Those who took curcumin reported less soreness 48 and 72 hours after the exercise, even though there was no difference in creatine kinase levels between the two groups. The participants' erythrocyte sedimentation rate was elevated immediately after the exercise, but the levels were within normal limits with little difference between the two groups. Those who took curcumin performed better on the vertical jump over time, but the placebo group saw decrements in the performance of this test.

These findings suggest that curcumin reduces soreness and helps maintain muscular power following plyometric exercise.

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