Known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, feeling achy or sore is a normal reaction when you return to the gym after a long absence, increase the intensity of your workout, or change your training routine to include new muscle groups. The root cause of this soreness is from micro trauma to your muscles and connective tissues, as well as the accumulation of metabolic waste products and oxidative stress, caused by exercise. The pain comes from an inflammatory response that is triggered by damage to the muscle fibers.
It may seem counterintuitive, but your muscles actually get stronger by breaking down first. It’s the muscle recovery and rebuilding process after exercise that really gives you results, not the training itself. So, it’s just as important to have a recovery strategy and routine as it is to have a training strategy.
Some important workout recovery strategies are:
- Staying hydrated
- Ensuring enough protein intake
- Getting enough rest
- Foam rolling or massage
In addition to these recovery strategies, you can take several supplements to help with muscle soreness and improve your muscle recovery time. Here are some excellent supplements for muscle fatigue and soreness you can add to your recovery routine.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and glutamine is one of the most plentiful and important amino acids in your body. Most people get glutamine by eating animal protein such as beef, chicken, fish, or eggs, but some plant-based foods are also good sources such as nuts and beans. It’s also produced by the muscles inside your body.
Glutamine performs many roles such as removing waste products from the bloodstream, and aiding in healthy brain, immune and digestive function. It’s stored in your body and can become depleted from intense or prolonged exercise, and research has shown glutamine supplements can help hasten the muscle recovery process and decrease muscle fatigue and soreness after heavy training.
Literally thousands of studies show that turmeric, specifically the curcumin inside the turmeric root, is one of the most powerful herbal allies for a healthy inflammation response. On top of that, a host of research has demonstrated how curcumin reduces DOMS-related muscle fatigue and pain and is a great supplement to help with muscle soreness. Studies suggest that taking curcumin after exercise is more effective than taking it before a workout.
SuperPure® Turmeric goes above and beyond average turmeric supplements in several ways. First, it is made with organic turmeric and is concentrated into a potent extract using no chemical solvents or additives whatsoever. Turmeric, and particularly curcumin, are notoriously difficult to absorb. Companies have tried everything to solve this problem with some concerning tactics and additives. Being a whole spectrum extract, SuperPure Turmeric contains its own essential oils called turmerones. When you pair curcumin with these naturally occurring turmerone oils, the result is a highly bioavailable form of turmeric, without any of the questionable additives. The result is a powerful, pure, and effective turmeric extract that can help you get back on your feet after a grueling workout.
Trillions of bacteria live inside your gut, and they’re essential for gastrointestinal health, immune function, mood, and stress levels (to learn more check out Stress and the Stomach — The Gut-Brain Connection), among other things. Probiotics are supplements with helpful, or “good,” bacteria that have been reported to support healthy digestive and immune function, aid in protein absorption, and decrease inflammation. Since muscle soreness is primarily about inflammation, and probiotics lower levels of inflammation in the body, they can help reduce muscle aches and pains.
One of the most powerful and versatile antioxidants that science has ever found, astaxanthin contributes to health on so many levels. One of the many health boosts that it provides is improving recovery after exercise. It does this by vacuuming up the damaging free radicals that cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and damage to muscle cells.
Unlike many astaxanthin products that are synthetically derived from petrochemicals or yeast, SuperPure® Astaxanthin comes from plant-based, organic freshwater algae. It’s grown in a solar powered, glass, hermetically sealed, tightly monitored freshwater system to ensure no contamination from microbes, agricultural residue, or other foreign debris. This results in an ultra-pure, whole spectrum astaxanthin of the highest quality and efficacy.
Twenty amino acids make up the thousands of different proteins in your body. Nine of the twenty are considered essential amino acids, meaning they cannot be made by the body and must be obtained through your diet. Of those nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids — or BCAAs — leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Famous in the fitness world with plenty of research backing them up, BCAAs are used to enhance muscle protein synthesis and decrease muscle fatigue and soreness after a workout. Studies suggest that taking a BCAA supplement before exercise, not after, is the way to go.
A member of the same plant family as turmeric, ginger also provides outstanding support for a healthy inflammation response. The powerful active compounds inside the spicy root, called gingerols and shogaols, are responsible for its many health benefits. Best known for easing and strengthening digestion, studies have shown ginger also supports healthy immune function, has antioxidant properties, and helps decrease sore muscles after exercise.
SuperPure® Ginger is an organic, dual H2O and CO2 extract that concentrates ginger’s all-important gingerols and shogaols. It pairs well with its cousin turmeric, so if you want to give DOMS a one-two punch, try taking them together.
Another useful supplement for muscle fatigue and soreness is fish oil. Packed with two essential omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fish oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects that help with muscle recovery. It also supports heart and cardiovascular health, brain function, and mood health. So, it’s a great addition to any dietary regimen. Just make sure to look for fish oil supplements with undetectable mercury content.
At the end of the day, if it hurts to sit down or lift your arms after training, you have several options for muscle recovery to get back to feeling like yourself again. These seven supplements for sore muscles can help get you back into the gym sooner for your next workout session.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.