Can Pomegranates Prevent Muscle Damage?

Some studies suggest that pomegranates can prevent muscle damage after training. Read on to find out what we know so far.
Can Pomegranates Prevent Muscle Damage?

Last update: 03 June, 2020

Recent years have seen the appearance of various products on the market which contain pomegranate extract, claiming that pomegranates prevent muscle damage. This claim comes from the publication of a study in rates which claimed that pomegranate can protect skeletal muscle against inflammation [1]. However, we can’t immediately say that these results also apply to humans.

However, studies have also been carried out on the ability of pomegranate juice to improve recovery for weight lifters. In this study, nine individuals took part, and researchers concluded that a regular intake of pomegranate juice reduces muscle inflammation and improves recovery [2].

So, what does science say about pomegranates?

Beyond these studies, we can’t say that there’s a mountain of evidence to support these claims. To do this, larger randomized studies are required to demonstrate the efficacy of pomegranate juice against placebo in different sports and activities.

Normally, tests are first performed on animals and then on humans later. Sometimes, results can be the same, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, when testing sports supplements, tests in mice often produce different results than tests in humans.

The best tips for recovery

At the moment, the best nutritional advice for optimal muscle recovery is to keep consuming enough protein and carbohydrates after training. Immediately after training, high-quality proteins have the ability to reduce muscle damage and reduce pain. Much of this is due to the amino acid leucine, which is one of the most important for muscle building.

Furthermore, it’s also a good idea to consume plenty of vitamins and anti-oxidants after strenuous exercise. These substances help reduce free radicals and improve muscle recovery by regulating inflammation.

Vitamin C, for example, is fundamental for building tendon tissue, so it’s very important to make sure you get enough.

A man lifting weights in the gym.

If you’re taking supplements, sensible, stable doses of creatine could be useful. This substance appears to reduce the risk of muscle injury and, therefore, helps proper recovery.

Non-nutritional advice

Beyond your diet, there are other things you can do to improve recovery. These include immersion in cold water or pressotherapy. In the hours immediately after intense exercise, there are also some physiotherapy techniques that seem to help reduce inflammation and reduce muscle damage.

Aside from this, low-intensity activities also improve inflammation and help to recover the muscles for further exercise.

Preventing injuries

As you can see, there are a lot of things that play a role in muscle recovery, and it’s worth paying attention to all of them. This way, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of injury and keep yourself at the top of your game.

However, there is, unfortunately, no substance that will significantly improve muscle recovery, even in large doses. Studies still don’t conclusively show that pomegranate has this effect.

Despite this, much larger studies are needed to prove any significant effect. It’s very common for results from studies in animals to not be exactly the same as in humans.

An open pomegranate on a table.

So, do pomegranates prevent muscle damage?

Pomegranates could be beneficial for muscle damage, but currently, there isn’t enough scientific literature to support this. For now, we should stick to things that are proven, such as physiotherapy and consuming enough carbohydrates and proteins.

One thing that is clear is that proper nutrition plays an important role in recovery and preventing injuries. But you should also focus on your diet immediately after exercise. If you want to be able to perform at your best, you need to have good control over your diet every day to minimize inflammation and maximize your performance.

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  • Rodriguez J., Caille O., Ferreira D., Francaux M., Pomegranate extract prevents skeletal muscle of mice against wasting induced by acute TNF-a injection. Mol Nutr Food Res, 2017.
  • Ammar A., Turki M., Chtourou H., Hammouda O., Trabelsi K., Kallel C., Abdelkarim O., Hoekelmann A., Bouaziz M., Ayadi F., Driss T., Souissi N., Pomegranate supplementation accelartes recovery of muscle damage and soreness and inflammatory markers after a weightlifting training sesión. PLos One, 2016.