The Effect of Pomegranate Juice on Soreness in Trained Athletes

Intense exercise is often followed by a period of weakness and soreness that can last for days or weeks.

Intense exercise is often followed by a period of weakness and soreness that can last for days or weeks. The peak of soreness, known as delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS, happens in the first day or two following exercise. Numerous folk and medical remedies are on the market claiming to reduce the discomfort of this sore period. Pomegranate is one of these remedies and has been studied previously for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities in regards to cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid


Recently a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research decided to study the effect of pomegranate juice, specifically the polyphenols contained in it, on a group of resistance trained individuals. The pomegranate juice was provided by POM Wonderful whose product is widely available for consumers.

Subjects in this particular test maintained a fifteen day schedule of resistance training and supplemented with pomegranate or a placebo twice daily. On the eighth day of the study, subjects were asked to perform specific eccentric exercises involving the elbow and the knee, intended to provoke DOMS. All subjects went through this fifteen day cycle two times, once taking pomegranate supplement and once taking the placebo, to measure the difference in effect on DOMS.

Results indicated that pomegranate supplementation reduced soreness and strength-loss in the muscles surrounding the elbow, but not in the muscles involved in the prescribed leg exercises. As such, researchers concluded supplementation would be useful for previously resistance trained individuals, both recreational and competitive, for alleviating soreness and preserving strength for multiple days of activities involving the elbows and arms.