Stewart, Laura

Committee Member

Kage, Katie


Sport and Exercise Science


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





74 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Individuals who participate in intensified training programs such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), are at risk for an uncontrolled inflammatory response, which may hinder the body’s recovery process. Curcumin is the most recognized compound in turmeric and has a distinctive yellow color. Curcumin has many medicinal actions and is most well-known for its anti-inflammatory activities. More recently, curcumin has emerged as an agent that can potentially optimize performance during intense exercise and may also attenuate pain and muscle soreness. Additionally, curcumin has been linked to improvements in mental health status such as reductions in depression and anxiety. PURPOSE: The specific aim of this study was to explore the performance related and mental health impact of curcumin supplementation during 2-weeks of intensified, HIIT. METHODS: Twenty-three physically active, healthy males and females between the ages of 18-40 years were recruited for this study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: curcumin 1 (LG1 (n=9)), curcumin 2 (LG2 (n=7)), or a rice flour placebo (PL (n=7)). All participants visited the lab 9 times. As part of their assessments, participants completed basic measures of body size and composition as well as a VO2max test. Then, they completed a 16.1 km cycling time trial with assessments for pain before and during the test as well as muscle soreness after the test. Mental health was assessed before the time trials pre and post-intervention. Then, all groups completed HIIT training which included 2 weeks of 3 nonconsecutive days a week of 6, 90 second sprints at 80 90% of their VO2max on the cycle ergometer with 3 minutes of active recovery at 50 60% of their VO2max. After the training and supplementation period, all groups were reassessed using the time trial with pain and muscle soreness measures and mental health assessment. RESULTS: There were no differences among the groups with respect to time trial performance, dolorimetry measures, pain, and mental health at the pre intervention time point. No significant differences in pre to post-intervention time trial performance, dolorimetry, pain, or mental health were observed among groups LV1, LV2 and PL. CONCLUSION: Although no main effects related to HIIT or curcumin were observed in this study, results suggest that a larger population may be needed for a more definitive conclusion as to whether or not curcumin may be helpful during intensified training.

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