Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is typically felt 24-72 hours after unaccustomed or strenuous activity, or muscle overload, and is most commonly felt after eccentric exercise. Though a combination of massage, cryotherapy, stretching and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been implemented to reduce the effect of DOMS, to date, there is no single treatment that has been found to be consistently effective. New research has investigated the use of enzymes for the management of DOMS after eccentric exercise.
A randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted with 20 healthy males with no known musculoskeletal pathology; other exclusion criteria included treatment with anti-inflammatory/analgesic/antioxidant drugs in the previous month, abnormal liver/renal function tests and active inflammatory or infection processes.
Each participant was given one capsule containing 50mg of enzyme complex (containing protease, alpha-amylase, cellulase, lipase and lactase), or placebo, three times a day for three days following 30 minutes of exercise at 80% of predicted maximal heart rate undertaken at baseline. Measurements of muscle strength, soreness, pain and damage were measured at baseline at one, two and three days post exercise.
Measurements included: a Hand-Held Dynamometer (HHD) used during extension and contraction of the knee (muscle strength); Muscle Soreness Questionnaire (MSQ) following direct pressure to the muscle with an algometer (muscle soreness); the McGill pain assessment questionnaire (muscle pain); the biomarkers creatine kinase
and lactate dehydrogenase (muscle damage).
Statistically significant differences between the enzyme treatment and placebo were seen in the pain score (p = 0.0061) and soreness (p = 0.042), with non-significant reductions in biomarkers of muscle damage. No adverse events were noted.
In consideration of these results, alongside previous literature, the authors concluded: “[p]rotease supplementation when coupled with a well-managed training programme can result in more rapid recovery of the damage caused to contractile mechanism by DOMS.”
1. American College of Sports Medicine. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Viewed 25 October 2018 [Source]
2. Majeed M, Siva KA, Shaheen M, et al. Multi-enzyme complex for the management of delayed onset muscles soreness after eccentric exercise: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study. Sports Nutr Ther 2016;1(3):1000113. [Full Text]