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J Diet Suppl. 2018 Oct 9:1-12. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2018.1492484. [Epub ahead of print]

A Randomized Double-Blind Trial of Ginger Root for Reducing Muscle Soreness and Improving Physical Performance Recovery Among Experienced Recreational Distance Runners.

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a Human Movement Sciences , Old Dominion University , Norfolk , VA , USA.


Previous studies indicate that ginger root has pain-relieving properties, but these effects have not been thoroughly examined in the context of distance running. The purpose of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was to determine whether ginger root supplementation reduces muscle soreness and dysfunction from downhill running. Thirty-two runners (10 women, 22 men) were pair-matched and randomized to 1.425 g/day of ginger root or placebo for 5 days. A 40-minute downhill (-7.5%) run was completed on day 3. Before supplementation and at various points throughout a 5-day protocol, muscle soreness, pain-pressure threshold, vertical jump, and 1.5-mile run performance were evaluated. Differences between treatments were assessed using magnitude-based inferential statistics. Soreness while jogging likely increased to a lesser degree with ginger root from baseline to immediately postrun (Cohen's d = -0.69; 90% confidence limit [CL] [-1.50, 0.12]) and from baseline to day 5 (d = -0.72; 90% CL [-1.61, 0.16]). Ginger root had a possible small benefit on vertical jump from baseline to day 5 (d = 0.24; 90% CL [0.05, 0.44]) but likely no meaningful impact on 1.5-mile run performance. Trivial or unclear effects were found for most other outcomes. No significant differences in adverse events were observed between treatments. Ginger root possibly has moderate beneficial effects on running-induced soreness but likely irrelevant effects on recovery of physical performance. Ginger represents one option for runners looking to temporarily reduce pain, although more studies are warranted to clarify its safety profile and its effects on long-term training adaptation.


endurance training; nutrition; recovery; running; supplementation

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