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Muscle Soreness -- Top 10 Natural
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Last updated April 18, 2017, originally published February 7, 2012

By  A. Turner, Contributing Columnist

4.  Drink Black tea.  All those cultures around the world that
stop what they’re doing for tea every day might have been
on to something.  In 2010, researchers from Rutgers
University, including Shawn Arent with the Department of
Exercise Science & Sport Studies,   observed how a high-
potency black tea extract (BTE) affects delayed onset muscle
soreness after high-intensity exercise.  

College-age males with at least one year of weight training
experience consumed either BTE or a placebo for nine days.  
Results expressed “significantly lower” delayed onset muscle
soreness for the athletes who consumed BTE.  

Furthermore, the team concluded that “consumption of
theaflavin-enriched black tea extract led to improved
recovery and a reduction in oxidative stress.”    Even if we’re
not weight-trainers, a cup of tea couldn’t hurt: perhaps we
could pair it with a bowl of cherries.  

Try Acupuncture.  For some of us, a fear of sharp metal
entering our skin has kept us away from acupuncture our
entire lives – but recent research suggests it might be time to
face the needles.  In 2008 a team of experts with the
Department of Sports Medicine at Goethe-University in
Frankfurt, Germany, including Dr. Markus Hubscher,  
investigated how standardized acupuncture changes delayed-
onset muscle soreness after exercise.  

Twenty-two participants of both genders were assigned to
either “real acupuncture,” “sham acupuncture,” wherein they
thought they received acupuncture but didn’t, or “control,”
no needling.  These treatments were applied immediately, 24
hours and 48 hours after delayed-onset muscle soreness was
reported, and a “final pain” measurement was taken 72
hours later.  

What result? Results showed that after 72 hours, pain
perception was “significantly lower in the acupuncture group
compared to the sham acupuncture and control subjects.”
Encouraging – or challenging – news, depending on how
open we are to trying acupuncture.    

Drink Pomegranate juice.  

In 2011, a team from the Human Performance Laboratory at
the University of Texas at Austin, including Justin Trombold,  
conducted a study to see how pomegranate juice
supplementation influenced skeletal muscle strength and
recovery in “subjects who routinely performed resistance
training.”  Participants performed sets of lifting exercises,
consuming either pomegranate juice or a placebo.  

While consuming the juice did not alleviate muscle soreness
in the knee, it did decrease weakness and reduce soreness in
the elbow.  If the muscles in your knees bother you after
exercise, you might be better off using one of the other
methods suggested in this article.

But if your muscle soreness happens to be in your elbow
after lifting exercises, pomegranate juice might be precisely
what you need.  

There’s Exercise and Then There’s Exercise.  Recent
findings suggest that the way that we exercise could
determine whether or not we are sore afterwards.  

In 2008 researchers from various departments at the
University of Santa Cruz and the University of California at
Berkeley, including W. Jackson Davis with the Division of
Physical and Biological Sciences at Santa Cruz , compared
how exercise with “areobic cardioacceleration” (the rapid
elevation of heart rate) before a set of resistance exercises
changed delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) of nearly
fifty participants.  

They found that elevating the heart rate immediately before a
set of resistance exercises “rapidly eliminates DOMS during
vigours progressive resistance training in athletes.”   
Whether you consider yourself an athlete or not, if your
muscles are sore after a workout, next time try getting your
heart rate up on the bike or treadmill
before lifting.  

Whey Protein May Help.  In 2010, researchers with the
Exercise Metabolism Unit at the School of Biomedical and
Health Sciences at Victoria University in Melbourne, including
Emma Rybalka,  examined how short-term consumption of
whey protein changes the eccentrically-induced muscle
damage in healthy individuals (“eccentric” contractions or
those in which muscles lengthen while resisting a load, such
as slowly lowering a weight) .  

Seventeen men who are not weight trainers participated in
the study for fourteen days.  Those who were given whey
protein supplements during training demonstrated better
“maintenance of muscle strength” in the days following
eccentric-induced muscle damage from training.  The
researchers add that eating whey could be of “immense
benefit” for an athlete, as the advantage from decreased
muscle injury and ensuing pain or soreness could be “the
difference between winning and losing” a competition.  

Try Creatine supplement.  Creatine monohydrate is
naturally made in the kidneys, liver and pancreas at the level
of about 120 grams in a 150 pound person.  (Read more
about the
effect of creatine and whey on muscles.)

Creatine supplementation is used by many athletes and
bodybuilders in the hopes of increasing muscular force and
power  (the more the creatine, the idea goes, the more the
development of muscular tissue).  

In 2009 a team of experts from Australia, the United States,
and Tasmania, including Matthew B. Cooke with the Exercise
& Sport Nutrition Lab at Baylor University in Waco, Texas,  
analyzed how creatine supplements more specifically
influence muscle soreness from eccentric exercises.  

The study found that creatine supplementation resulted in a
“significant improvement in the rate of recovery of knee
extensor muscle function” in those participants using creatine

While this news is encouraging, keep in mind that there have
been reports of side effects in those using creatine
supplementation, such as diarrhea, dizziness and kidney

Casein Hydrosolate supplement.  Casein hydrolysate is
made from a milk protein that breaks down into amino acids.
Casein can be bought as a supplement.  It is well known that
diet influences health and how we are able to exercise.
Recent research confirms that the kinds of calories we
consume on the day of exercise can also make a difference.
In particular, if you eat a combination of casein and
carbohydrates, you can reduce muscle sorenes.

In 2009, experts from the Department of Kinesiology at
James Madison University in Virginia and DSM Food
Specialties in The Netherlands,  discovered that a drink made
up of  “carbohydrate + casein hydrolysate (CHO+ProH)”
improves muscle recovery for thirteen male cyclists.  

Participants consumed the drink every 5km of cycling for a
60km ride, and immediately after exercise, and muscle
soreness ratings were assessed immediately before and 24
hours after cycling.  The ratings of muscle soreness in cyclists
consuming the casein cocktail did not increase, whereas
those consuming a control beverage of solely carbohydrates
had a lot more muscle soreness.


Elastic Bands Work As Well as Massage to Prevent Sore

When it comes to preventing muscle soreness, elastic bans
may work just as well as a massage. The  new 2013 study
was conducted jointly by researchers from Memorial
University of Newfoundland in the UK and the National
Research Centre for the Working Environment in Denmark.
The study looked at 20 women of average age of 32 who
worked out their shoulders on a weight machine. About 48
hours later, they experienced muscle soreness. The
researchers then had them either exercise the same muscles
for 20 minutes using an elastic band or get a massage on the
sore area.  Remarkably, exercising after muscle soreness
worked just as well as a massage.

Morale of the story?  It may sound like pouring salt into a
wound but if you have muscle soreness, one of the best
remedies is to work the same muscle again with a stretch
band for about 20 minutes.]

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Drinking pomegranate juice also
helps  relieve muscle soreness,
studies show.