Turmeric: A Heart Healthy Pre-Workout Alternative

Turmeric has been shown to deliver outstanding support to the heart. So much so that it inspired researchers to compare it to exercise in regard to cardiovascular support.

Written by: John Douillard Link

Specifically, they studied curcumin—the constituent of turmeric that gives it its yellow pigment.

In the study, 32 post-menopausal women were assigned to 3 groups. One group took turmeric (curcumin) for 8 weeks, one group performed daily moderate exercise for 8 weeks, and one group was a placebo control group (no turmeric and no exercise).

No cardiovascular support was shown in the placebo group, but in the other two groups, significant cardiovascular support was noticed.

After exercise, the arteries dilate in order to support the demands of the exercise and to support recovery. This was, as expected, seen in the exercise group.

Unexpectedly, the group that took the curcumin showed the same amount of vascular dilation and flow that was seen in the exercise group!

The study concluded that curcumin supplementation and aerobic exercise can increase flow-mediated dilation in post-menopausal women, suggesting that both are beneficial when it comes to healthy endothelial function (which declines with age). 

Turmeric Replacing Caffeine as Pre-Workout Supplement

Most of the pre-workout drinks, supplements, powders and gels on the market deliver a powerful boost in energy from caffeine.

There is no doubt that caffeine will boost adrenal function and give you the get-up-and-go needed to maximize your workout, but what effect does this have on your arteries?

While there are studies on both sides of this argument, (4) there are many studies that suggest caffeine can constrict vascular dilation and flow.

One study concluded that coffee exerts an acute unfavorable effect on the vascular function in healthy adults, lasting for at least 1 hour after intake. 

So, dosing with caffeine before a workout may not be a very good idea after all! Decaffeinated coffee was not associated with any change in endothelial performance.