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Muscle Damage

Muscle damage refers to the breaking of muscle tissue during exercise, and is approximately by measuring some biomarkers in the blood released by damaged muscle (such as creatine kinase). Reducing muscle damage may alleviate soreness from exercise.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Jul 5, 2013
Last Updated:

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect muscle damage
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b Notable High See all 3 studies
Decrease creatine kinase exists following acute supplementation (15-30 minutes before a workout) of HMB free acid to about a third of control, and is effective in trained individuals
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 6 studies
Not overly protective, but there appears to be a degree of protection.
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
Biomarkers of muscle damage including creatine kinase and muscle soreness are both fairly reliably reduced following ingestion of carnitine and pairing with exercise
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Although not acute, a possible reduction in biomarkers of muscle damage is sometimes noted with antioxidative supplementation which applies to Vitamin C; results are unreliable
grade-c Minor - See study
Appears to reduce biomarkers of muscle damage such as creatine kinase
grade-c Minor - See study
A slight decrease in biomarkers of muscle damage has been noted with CoQ10 supplementation.
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in muscle damage biomarkers (creatine kinase) has been noted with melatonin supplementation
grade-c Minor - See study
Biomarkers of muscle damage such as creatinine and bilirubin are decreased following exercise with an MSM preload
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in biomarkers of muscle damage (creatine kinase) has been noted 72 hours after exercise in which panax ginseng was preloaded
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Able to reduce circulating levels of creatine kinase following exercise
grade-c Minor - See study
In athletes who experienced a reduction in lipid peroxidation from vitamin E supplementation during exercise, there is also a reduction in biomarkers of muscle damage.
grade-c - - See study
The progression of recovery after a novel workout (when measured over three days) was unaffected by 6-12mg anatabine
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on biomarkers of muscle damage seen with fish oil supplementation
grade-c - - See study
Serum creatinine (increased during exercise and thought to be indicative of muscle damage) does not appear to be significantly altered with glutamine supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on serum biomarkers of muscle damage such as creatinine
grade-c - - See study
grade-d Minor - See study
Improved exercise-induced muscle damage/recovery in untrained people as measured by plasma creatine kinase levels