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Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

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If you have ever trained with weights you will know all about DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). DOMS has many names and is commonly called muscle fever but the scientists call it "muscular mechanical hyperalgesia". DOMS commonly occurs 24 to 72 hours after exercise and is believed to be caused by the eccentric lengthening of muscle fibers.

DOMS should not be confused with normal muscle soreness, DOMS is caused by your bodies inflammatory response to the movement that you were doing. The micro-trauma done to the muscle fibers can be anything from severe to mild, however most of the time the muscle is only sore when used and not when it is relaxed.

There are a number of factors that affect whether you get DOMS or not. The first is your age, your athletic conditioning and the condition of your own skeletal muscular system. Obviously if you have any pre-existing structural damage DOMS will most certainly happen.

The inflammatory response that causes DOMS is triggered by the release of two pro-inflammatory hormones, the first is cytokinases and the second is PGE2 prostaglandin E2. This draws water to the damaged muscle which leads to edema increasing the pain and the sensitivity of the muscle.

Protease enzymes have proven themselves to help reduce exercise induced muscular inflammation which is a process called DOMS. Protease enzymes are papain, trypsin, bromelain and chymotrypsin that are able to cleanse the blood of any excess proteins and they are able to prevent invading organisms attacking the immune system.

Sitosterols are plant sterols that are very good at combating DOMS. Sitosterols are one of the few plant sterols that can increase T-Cell and the CD4 activity. This has an immediate effect on the anti-inflammatory release of IL-6 (interleukin 6) which is a normal response to exercise, so the reduction of this anti-inflammatory would help to speed up recuperation. Sitosterols are also able to reduce cortisol levels plus they can improve the cortisol to DHEA ratio which directly affects the rate of recuperation.

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