by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
Both protease and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug supplementation have been shown to attenuate the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness resulting from intense exercise.
Preliminary results by researchers from Elon University, Elon, NC, were presented on data collected from male participants who ran downhill on a treadmill on a 10% grade for 30 minutes at 80% predicted maximum heart rate. Subjects consumed either 2 protease tablets (325 mg pancreatic enzymes, 75 mg trypsin, 50 mg papain, 50 mg bromelain, 10 mg amylase, 10 mg lipase, 10 mg lysozyme), 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, or a placebo for four days after the run. Supplementation was administered in randomized, double-blind fashion.
Subjects were evaluated for perceived muscle soreness of the front and back of the dominant thigh and on the back of the shank of the same leg. Measurements of leg strength where also determined prior to running and at various times in the four days of recovery.
Pain for the posterior aspects of the thigh was reduced at 24 and 48 hours after running. Pain was lower in the back and front of the right leg in placebo and acetaminophen groups as compared to the protease group 24 and 48 hours after running. However, leg strength was superior compared to placebo and acetaminophen groups at 24, 48 and 72 hours after exercise in the protease group.
The results of this investigation indicate that protease supplementation may attenuate muscle soreness and facilitate the restoration of muscle function following downhill running. The authors further state that a potential explanation for these findings may he within the action of protease to minimize inflammation and accelerate muscle healing.