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Preventive Effects of 10-Day Supplementation With Saffron and Indomethacin on the Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

Meamarbashi, Abbas PhD; Rajabi, Ali MSc

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: March 2015 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 105–112
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000113
Original Research
In the Press

Objective: Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) often occurs after unaccustomed eccentric exercise and reduces exercise performance. We aimed to study the preventive effects of saffron and indomethacin on the biochemical and functional indicators of DOMS after 1-session eccentric exercise.

Design: A 10-day, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pretest–posttest design.

Setting: Controlled research laboratory.

Participants: Thirty-nine nonactive male university students randomly divided into saffron (n = 12), indomethacin (n = 12), and control (n = 15) groups.

Interventions: Saffron group received 1 capsule containing dried saffron powder (n = 12, 300 mg/d), indomethacin group received 75 mg indomethacin (n = 12, 25 mg thrice a day), and control group (n = 15) received placebo capsules, 1 week before and 3 days after eccentric exercise. Ten days before and 24, 48, and 72 hours after muscle soreness protocol, the maximum isometric and isotonic forces, plasma creatine kinase (CK), plasma lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), perceived pain, knee range of movement, and thigh circumference were measured. Muscle soreness protocol was performed with a weight load equal to 80% of the maximum isotonic force in 4 sessions with 20 repetitions and 3-minute rest in between.

Main Outcome Measures: This study shows that 10-day supplementation with 300 mg saffron significantly decreased the CK and LDH concentrations (P < 0.0001). In the saffron group, there was no decline in maximum isometric and isotonic forces after eccentric exercise, but a significant decline in the isometric force was observed in the control group (P < 0.0001). No pain was reported in the saffron group, whereas the indomethacin group experienced pain before 72 hours (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Results obtained from the current novel research indicate a strong preventive effect of 10-day supplementation with saffron on the DOMS.

Clinical Relevance: The saffron can be used to prevent DOMS and alleviate the DOMS symptoms.

Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran.

Corresponding Author: Abbas Meamarbashi, PhD, Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil 56199-11367, Iran (

Supported by the university postgraduate thesis grant M416.

A. Meamarbashi was an employee of University of Mohaghegh Ardabili at the time of this study, and A. Rajabi was an MSc student during this study in the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili.

Received August 07, 2013

Accepted March 05, 2014

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