|Regular POMj did the ergogenic trick.|
What makes the study at hand more interesting than most of the previously published studies is that the authors investigated the effect of natural Pomegranate juice supplementation on performance and acute and delayed responses of muscle soreness and biomarkers of muscle damage not in response to endurance training, but rather in response to a weightlifting training session.
For their study, Ammar et al. recruited 9 elite weightlifters [age: 21 ± 0.5 years, body mass: 80 ± 9.5 kg, height 175 ± 8.1 cm (mean ± SD)]. The inclusion criteria were:
- subjects trained at least five sessions per week (between 15h:30 and 17h:30) with 90 to 120 min per session,
- subjects had an experience of more than 3 years in Olympic weightlifting and
- subjects didn’t have any injuries and they didn’t use any antioxidant (e.g., vitamin E, A, C etc.) or anti-inflammatory drugs during the experimental period and one month before.
"Supplements (1500 ml) of PLA or POMj were taken three times daily in the 48h that proceeded respectively these two training sessions (i.e. 250ml × 6 times with 8-h intervals between it). Moreover, 1h before the training sessions, participants consumed an additional 500 ml of PLA and 500 ml of POMj, respectively" (Amman. 2016).To assess the recovery kinetic of the biological parameters, blood sample, temperature, HR and SBP were collected at resting state (i.e., after 10 days of recovery, blood sample 6) and before, immediately (3min) and 48h after the training session.
|In their 2014 study, Machin et al. saw no benefit of doubling the dose of pomegranate juice concentrate and thus the antioxidant load (from 650 mg GAE/d to 1300 mg GAE/d).|
And if we are already talking about dosing, it may be worth mention that Machin et al. didn't find a dose-response effect in their 2014 study, even when they doubled the amount of pomegranate juice concentrate they administered to their subjects before muscle damaging exercise the muscle soreness was not further reduced and the recovery of muscle strength was not accelerate beyond what the lower dose supplmentation regimen achieved (see Figure on the left).
"The tested quantity of the natural POMj was prepared from a fresh pomegranate fruit 48h before the beginning of the experimentation and was frozen and stored at -4°C. No additional chemical products were added to the natural POMj. Each 500-mL of the tested POMj contained 2.56g of total polyphenol, 1.08g of orthodiphenols, 292.59mg of flavonoids and 46.75mg of flavonols" (Ammar. 2016).The PLA juice was a pomegranate-flavored commercial drink contained water, citric acid, natural flavor and natural identical flavor (Pomegranate), sweeteners (aspartame × (0.3g/l), acesulfame K (0.16g/l)), stabilizers (Arabic gum) and didn’t contain antioxidants, vitamins nor polyphenols.
|Figure 2: Calculated performances with PLA and natural POMj supplementations.|
*:Significant differences between PLA and POMj conditions (Ammar. 2016).
- on both performances variables during POMj condition compared to PLA (+8.29±3.8% and +3.26±0.83%, respectively for the total and the maximally lifted amounts), as well as
- on RPE and DOMS which were significantly reduced by -4.37±1.45% for RPE and -13.4±3.84% for the knee extensors’ DOMS in the POMj condition.
So, acutely, there were significant benefits of consuming 3x250ml of regular pomegranate juice and an extra 500ml pre-workout.
|Figure 3: Deep onset muscle soreness and rate of perceived exertion (Ammar. 2016).|
After 48h the improvements in blood pressure and heart rate (indicative of faster recovery of the central nervous system) as well as the reduction in CK and LDH persisted. In addition, the scientists recorded lower levels of the liver enzyme AST, which is likewise an indicator of reduced muscle damage (learn more about AST).
- Ammar, Achraf, et al. "Pomegranate Supplementation Accelerates Recovery of Muscle Damage and Soreness and Inflammatory Markers after a Weightlifting Training Session." PloS one 11.10 (2016): e0160305.
- Machin, Daniel R., et al. "Effects of differing dosages of pomegranate juice supplementation after eccentric exercise." Physiology Journal 2014 (2014).
- Trombold, Justin R., et al. "Ellagitannin consumption improves strength recovery 2–3 d after eccentric exercise." Med Sci Sports Exerc 42.3 (2010): 493-8.
- Trombold, Justin R., et al. "The effect of pomegranate juice supplementation on strength and soreness after eccentric exercise." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25.7 (2011): 1782-1788.