Background: It is known that unaccustomed exercise—especially when it has an eccentric component—causes muscle damage and subsequent performance decrements. Attenuating muscle damage may improve performance and recovery, allowing for improved training quality and adaptations. Therefore, the current study sought to examine the effect of two doses of curcumin supplementation on performance decrements following downhill running. Methods: Sixty-three physically active men and women (21 ± 2 y; 70.0 ± 13.7 kg; 169.3 ± 15.2 cm; 25.6 ± 14.3 body mass index (BMI), 32 women, 31 men) were randomly assigned to ingest 250 mg of CurcuWIN® (50 mg of curcuminoids), 1000 mg of CurcuWIN® (200 mg of curcuminoids), or a corn starch placebo (PLA) for eight weeks in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled parallel design. At the end of the supplementation period, subjects completed a downhill running protocol intended to induce muscle damage. Muscle function using isokinetic dynamometry and perceived soreness was assessed prior to and at 1 h, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h post-downhill run. Results: Isokinetic peak extension torque did not change in the 200-mg dose, while significant reductions occurred in the PLA and 50-mg groups through the first 24 h of recovery. Isokinetic peak flexion torque and power both decreased in the 50-mg group, while no change was observed in the PLA or 200-mg groups. All the groups experienced no changes in isokinetic extension power and isometric average peak torque. Soreness was significantly increased in all the groups compared to the baseline. Non-significant improvements in total soreness were observed for the 200-mg group, but these changes failed to reach statistical significance. Conclusion: When compared to changes observed against PLA, a 200-mg dose of curcumin attenuated reductions in some but not all observed changes in performance and soreness after completion of a downhill running bout. Additionally, a 50-mg dose appears to offer no advantage to changes observed in the PLA and 200-mg groups.
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