Today, there are many ingredients addressing various aspects of performance as pre- and post-workout formulas. Each plays a role in some aspect of supporting exercise performance and recovery but there is another ingredient that may supplant much of them—curcumin. By addressing key elements for performance and recovery, curcumin supports cardiovascular function and blood flow, and offers antioxidant and inflammation support for recovery.
Cardiovascular function is the cornerstone of any sports supplement regimen. A healthy heart provides efficient transportation of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles as well as the removal of metabolic waste.
Physical activity increases demand for nutrients and oxygen, leading to a fivefold increase in cardiac output. As such, vasodilation plays a critical compensatory role to meet this increased demand. In healthy blood vessels, dilation is primarily regulated by nitric oxide (NO) produced by the endothelium—decreased production of NO can impair blood flow and availability of oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, supporting NO production is important to optimising exercise performance. Recent research in curcumin has been shown to do just that.
The FloMeD (Flow Mediated Dilation) study measured the direct impact of a highly bioavailable form of curcumin on healthy circulation using FMD—a process which measures the ability of blood vessels to dilate. Results demonstrated that supplementing with 1000 mg CurcuWIN significantly improved dilation by 37 percent—the result is greater blood flow for nutrient and oxygen availability to support performance.
The health benefits of exercise are apparent but not without consequence. Exercise can increase free radical production and inflammation, which may result in delayed recovery and even muscle damage. The antioxidant potential of curcumin and its ability to modulate inflammatory pathways underscores its potential as an adjunct for recovery post-exercise. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant in its own right but can also support the activity of the endogenous antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Curcumin also supports healthy inflammation after strenuous exercise. A recent study in healthy adults undergoing muscle damaging exercise demonstrated that an enhanced bioavailable curcumin effectively reduced creatine kinase (CK) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Both CK and IL-6 are elevated resulting from strenuous exercise and are indicators of damage and inflammation. The ability of curcumin to reduce oxidative stress and markers of inflammation may improve recovery and muscle performance. An additional study also reported a reduction in 24 h pain scores as well as improved muscle performance after a muscle damaging exercise underscoring curcumin’s benefits for sports performance.
Supplements are quickly catching up to the science to support the muscle’s nutritional needs. Curcumin is a multifunctional ingredient for sports performance that addresses those needs that everyone from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior is looking for to up their game or even those just looking to support their healthy, active lifestyles.