Plain language summary
All types of exercise cause muscular breakdown leading to muscle fatigue and muscle soreness, caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. Because of this, the use of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory supplements in athletes is widespread. The aim of this randomised trial was to investigate the effects of lemon verbena extract (Recoverben) on muscle strength and recovery after exhaustive exercise in 44 healthy, active adults. Participants were randomised to receive 400mg lemon verbena extract daily or placebo for 15 days, and performed an exhaustive exercise test on day 10. This trial found the lemon verbena group benefited from less muscle damage and faster recovery. Compared to placebo, the lemon verbena group had significantly less loss of muscle strength and less movement-induced pain. Based on these results, the authors conclude that lemon verbena extract is effective for reducing muscle damage after exhaustive exercise.
Background: Exhaustive exercise causes muscle damage accompanied by oxidative stress and inflammation leading to muscle fatigue and muscle soreness. Lemon verbena leaves, commonly used as tea and refreshing beverage, demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a proprietary lemon verbena extract (Recoverben®) on muscle strength and recovery after exhaustive exercise in comparison to a placebo product. Methods: The study was performed as a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study with parallel design. Forty-four healthy males and females, which were 22-50 years old and active in sports, were randomized to 400 mg lemon verbena extract once daily or placebo. The 15 days intervention was divided into 10 days supplementation prior to the exhaustive exercise day (intensive jump-protocol), one day during the test and four days after. Muscle strength (MVC), muscle damage (CK), oxidative stress (GPx), inflammation (IL6) and volunteer-reported muscle soreness intensity were assessed pre and post exercise. Results: Participants in the lemon verbena group benefited from less muscle damage as well as faster and full recovery. Compared to placebo, lemon verbena extract receiving participants had significantly less exercise-related loss of muscle strength ( = 0.0311) over all timepoints, improved glutathione peroxidase activity by trend ( = 0.0681) and less movement induced pain ( = 0.0788) by trend. Creatine kinase and IL-6 didn't show significant discrimmination between groups. Conclusion: Lemon verbena extract (Recoverben®) has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated natural sports ingredient, by reducing muscle damage after exhaustive exercise. Trial registration: The trial was registered in the clinical trials registry (clinical trial.gov NCT02923102). Registered 28 September 2016.