Your Soreness from Yesterday Will Kill You Today

June 6, 2012

The founder of medicine was a Greek physician, Hippocrates, who spoke the words “let medicine be thy food, and food thy medicine”. Ancient civilizations have always had a super food, some part of their diet that has enabled them to recover from work and battle. For the Mediterranean region, Egyptian soldiers were the first to discover the anti-inflammatory properties of figs and used them to “calm the vessels,” even cutting down the trees and vines of their enemies. For Indochina, it began with a root, turmeric, that some consider the center of Eastern Medicine since 1900 BC. However, the goals of these physicians and civilizations are the same as today; promote healing by reducing inflammation.

In a broad sense, inflammation is at the core of every problem in our lives;

  • food allergies (see Sparta Point)
  • immune system strength to reduce the common cold (see Sparta Point),
  • the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes
  • nervous system and cognitive functioning (see Sparta Point)
  • and finally joint and muscle pain that may inhibit the repetition of elite performance

Aside from fish oil, turmeric is one of the most proven substances in reducing inflammation due to curcumin, a natural phenol which gives the spice its yellow color. This substance also exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities. A 2007 study out of the University of South Carolina’s Division of Applied Physiology specifically studied the effects of curcumin on delayed eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage, or DOMS (see Sparta Point). This inflammation, usually marked by soreness, is important because your subsequent performance will be affected. In battle terms, your soreness from yesterday will kill you today.

While other studies have shown curcumin’s ability to regenerate muscle, this is the first study to show an improvement on exercise performance. These effects occur both mechanically through the reduction of inflammation at the site of the muscle, but also due to the increase in molecules that are important for synaptic plasticity (See Sparta Point). Synaptic plasticity allows the nervous system to increase the speed and quality of transmission, which benefits movement performance, not to mention motivation to exercise and fight, which is chiefly governed by the central nervous system (See Sparta Point).

So put turmeric in your eggs for breakfast, or make a point to get some Indian food in your diet. For our athletes, we supplement their workouts on a daily basis. We use RIVAL-US’s Post Rx, because it contains turmeric along with necessary amino acids.

Quick Recap

  1. Inflammation is the body’s protective attempt to remove something bad

  2. Curcumin, or turmeric, is perhaps the most proven substance to reduce inflammation

  3. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric on everything you can, and/or take PostRx as a supplement

You can always ignore inflammation, the tiger may not kill you, but some disease might.

Kuptniratsaikul V, Thanakhumtorn S, Chinswangwatanakul P, Wattanamongkonsil L, Thamlikitkul V. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):891-7.

Davis JM, Murphy EA, Carmichael MD, Zielinski MR, Groschwitz CM, Brown AS, Gangemi JD, Ghaffar A, Mayer EP. Curcumin effects on inflammation and performance recovery following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jun;292(6):R2168-73.

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