Now as Masters Athletes we are very familiar with the notion, hard work pays off. And sometime we do tend to push ourselves very hard.
I talk all the time about the requirements of recovery and making sure we look after ourselves. And I am a strong proponent of using supplements and nutrition to aid that.
If athletes give their muscles a hard blow during unusually heavy strength training sessions, Grape Seed Extract supplementation can considerably limit the damage to their muscle tissue. And this may implicate that they not only suffer less from muscle soreness, but also recover faster, suspect Korean researchers.
The Koreans published a human study in the Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, in which they divided 16 male students into two groups. Each group took a capsule with 300 milligrams of Grape Seed Extract every evening for 3 days.
The researchers used capsules with MegaNatural-BP from the American company Polyphenolics. [polyphenolics.com] That application, which you can find in quite a few supplements, is standardized on procyanidins.
The students in the other group took a placebo.
On the first day of the experiment, the students, who were not used to strength training, trained their biceps on a preacher curl machine. The subjects did 2 eccentric sets of 25 reps each. That’s a recipe for major muscle damage.
24, 48, 72 and 96 hours after biceps training, the researchers determined how much muscle pain the subjects had on the basis of a questionnaire. They also determined the maximum strength that the students could develop with a bicep curl, and how much creatine kinase was in their blood.
The concentration of creatine kinase in blood is a marker for muscle damage. The higher the concentration, the greater the muscle damage.
The maximum strength recovered a little faster for the test subjects who received Grape Seed Extract than for the test subjects in the placebo group. The supplement also seemed to alleviate muscle pain after the workout. However, the differences between the groups were too small to be statistically significant.
The effect of supplementation on the concentration of creatine kinase after the workout was statistically significant. Grape Seed Extract reduced the increase in the blood levels of the test subjects.
“Polyphenol supplementation promotes the stability of cell membranes by increasing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, and decreases secondary muscle damage including vascular permeability, neutrophil infiltration, and free radical production”, speculate the Koreans.
“The anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory effect of Grape Seed Extract are well known, and experimental studies have reported significantly decreased levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory factors with Grape Seed Extract.”
“Thus, there is a possibility that supplementation with phenol content-rich Grape Seed Extract would decrease creatine kinase levels by decreasing oxidative stress or the inflammatory response.”
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“These results could be helpful in the application of Grape Seed Extract supplementation as a nutritional intervention to reduce muscle damage after high intensity strength training, especially in the early stage of a new strength training program”, the researchers write. “However, a larger scale study is necessary to validate these results.”