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Research Brief: Proteolytic Enzyme Supplementation Reduces Muscle Soreness
Almost everyone is familiar with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that occurs 12 to 48 hours after a bout of exercise. It usually occurs when you start an exercise program or if you are coming back from a layoff.

DOMS is associated with disruption or damage to the muscle cells that results in inflammation and edema (accumulation of fluid) inside the cells. It's not only uncomfortable, but DOMS reduces the force-generating capacity of muscles and may take several days or weeks to recovery depending on the magnitude of damage. Several therapies such as stretching, massage, ultrasound, anti-inflammatory medications, and antioxidant supplements have been tried with limited success. Previous reports have indicated that supplements containing proteolytic enzymes may decrease muscle soreness after downhill running and eccentric weightlifting.

The effects of a proprietary formula consisting of a proteolytic enzyme blend and other ingredients including various antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds (curcumin, resveratrol, vitamin C, etc.) was tested to see if it affected muscle soreness and recovery from exercise. Untrained men supplemented for 4 weeks with the proprietary blend or placebo. After each supplementation period they performed barbell squats to exhaustion to stress the thigh muscles. The main finding was that supplementation with the active formula resulted in less subjective ratings of pain and tend erness 6 and 48 hours after exercise compared to placebo. This small pilot study provides evidence for a potential effect of a formula containing proteolytic enzymes, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients to reduce the perception of muscle soreness.   

Reference: Udani JK, Singh BB, Singh VJ, Sandoval E. BounceBack capsules for reduction of DOMS after eccentric exercise: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Jun 5;6:14.