T Nation

Curcumin for muscle recovery?

Just found this ref:

Thaloor D, et al. 1999. Systemic administration of the NF-B inhibitor curcumin stimulates muscle regeneration after traumatic injury. Am J Physiol 277(2 pt1):C320-29.

Does anyone know any more about this?

Looked everywhere for some info pertaining to muscle regeneration - nothing. if anyone knows anythig i would love to read it!

Well, I had the same results as Alpha Male - some interesting info on curcumin but nothing specific to muscle regeneration. I did however come across this tidbit. Perhaps this is somehow related to the effect in the study by Thaloor. “Scientists have found that curcumin inhibits hyaluronidase activity. Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that is released by the body to protect itself at the site of an injury, but the continued release of this enzyme then causes inflammation and infection. Regular consumption of curcumin can keep the hyaluronidase levels in check.”

Curcumin is a very potent anti-inflammatory agent (it may also help prevent cancer and heart disease if you take enough). Perhaps this is the mechanism. What exactly are you thinking of using it for?

Yea, that’s a good paper from a good group. There are a couple of things to consider. The model of muscle injury/regeneration they used is the freeze injury model. Simply put, they induce freezer burn in living muscle. This is a rather severe form of injury, as the title indicates, and the relevance to the weightlifting/bodybuilding muscle “regeneration” is debatable.

That being said, I am familiar with other more relevant models that implicate NF-kB in the early events following muscle injury. The question always begs, is NF-kB (or other aspects of inflammation) necessary for effective funtional regeneration. That is the important thing. If inflammation is not allowed to run its course, you may not get total functional regeneration. Since this group did not measure force deficits of the animals we cannot determine this. Still, from a molecular standpoint it was a good solid study, and raises some interesting questions.

The other thing to consider, and I have alluded to this on other posts, is the proliferation of satellite cells/myblasts in response to injury. It appears as though the adminstration of curcumin resulted in earlier differentiation of the myoblasts, but not increased proliferation. From a body building perspective, one of the proposed mechanisms of increased growth over time is increased numbers of myoblasts in response to injury that then fuse with the existing muscle. By increasing the rate of differentiation, curcumin may limit the ability of the myoblasts to proliferate. They admit themselves that their assay was not quantitative. So, the real world application of this might be enhanced recovery from workouts, but inhibited growth in the long run. Finally, it is believed by some that the body has a limited number of satellite cells, by limiting their ability to proliferate before fusion, you may actually be depleting your satellite cell population over time as well. Most of this is conjecture, but you asked.

Steve wrote: “It appears as though the
adminstration of curcumin resulted in earlier
differentiation of the myoblasts, but not
increased proliferation …” “By increasing
the rate of differentiation, curcumin may
limit the ability of the myoblasts to
proliferate.” … “So, the real world
application of this might be enhanced recovery
from workouts, but inhibited growth in the
long run.”

Thanks, Steve. I thought it was interesting that curcumin induced differentiation of the myoblasts, and was wondering what implications for BB this might have (good or bad). Your speculation about curcumin inhibiting long term satellite cell proliferation, if your speculation is correct, could be quite serious indeed. Actually your response was exactly what I was looking for. It's obvious that you are well versed in this area, and I appreciate your insight. (I recall you answered one of my previous questions regarding hypertrophy vs hypeplasia.)