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Phytother Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):887-93. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5328. Epub 2015 Mar 18.

The Effects of Pre-Exercise Ginger Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

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  • 1Human Physiology Laboratory, Marywood University, Scranton, PA, 18509, USA.
  • 2Department of Nutrition Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, 19102, USA.
  • 3Department of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 40292, USA.
  • 4Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 40292, USA.
  • 5Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Sciences, High Point University, High Point, NC, 27268, USA.
  • 6Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, High Point University, High Point, NC, 27268, USA.


Ginger possesses analgesic and pharmacological properties mimicking non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs. We aimed to determine if ginger supplementation is efficacious for attenuating muscle damage and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following high-intensity resistance exercise. Following a 5-day supplementation period of placebo or 4 g ginger (randomized groups), 20 non-weight trained participants performed a high-intensity elbow flexor eccentric exercise protocol to induce muscle damage. Markers associated with muscle damage and DOMS were repeatedly measured before supplementation and for 4 days following the exercise protocol. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed one repetition maximum lift decreased significantly 24 h post-exercise in both groups (p < 0.005), improved 48 h post-exercise only in the ginger group (p = 0.002), and improved at 72 (p = 0.021) and 96 h (p = 0.044) only in the placebo group. Blood creatine kinase significantly increased for both groups (p = 0.015) but continued to increase only in the ginger group 72 (p = 0.006) and 96 h (p = 0.027) post-exercise. Visual analog scale of pain was significantly elevated following eccentric exercise (p < 0.001) and was not influenced by ginger. In conclusion, 4 g of ginger supplementation may be used to accelerate recovery of muscle strength following intense exercise but does not influence indicators of muscle damage or DOMS.


Zingiber officinale; antiinflammatory; exercise; gingerol; nutraceutical

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