Tart cherry supplements may speed recovery and boost performance: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto
Image © iStockPhoto

Related tags Inflammation functional beverage beverage

Short-term supplementation with Montmorency Tart Cherry powder may reduce inflammatory stress and increase performance in aerobically trained individuals, says a new study.

Scientists from Texas A&M University report that 480 mg daily doses of freeze dried Montmorency tart cherry skin powder reduced the inflammatory response after an endurance run.

“The findings of the current study revealed that consumption of a Montmorency powdered tart cherry supplement 7-d before, the day of, and 2-d after completing an endurance running challenge, appears to be an effective dietary supplement that may help attenuate post-run markers of muscle catabolism and physiological stress in aerobically trained individuals,” ​they wrote in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​.

The researchers used the commercially available CherryPURE Freeze Dried Tart Cherry Powder by Shoreline Fruit, LLC (Traverse City, MI) for the supplements. It reportedly takes over 100 pounds of fresh Montmorency tart cherries to produce a single kilogram of CherryPURE Montmorency Tart Cherry Powder, which is derived from cherry skins obtained after juicing.

This study was funded by Shoreline Fruit and Anderson Global Group, LLC (Irvine, CA).

Study details

Led by Dr Richard Kreider from the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory, the researchers recruited 27 endurance-trained runners or triathletes (18 men, 9 women). The athletes were randomly assigned to either the CherryPURE group or placebo for ten days. On the eighth day, the participants completed a sub-two-hour half-marathon.

Results showed that participants in the cherry group had 13% faster race finish times, compared with placebo.

“The apparent beneficial effect of tart cherry powder supplementation on endurance performance through a decrease in race completion time is consistent with some of the previously published findings,” ​wrote the researchers.

Consumption of the tart cherry supplement also attenuated the increases in markers of muscle breakdown that were observed in the placebo group.

An earlier study from the same research group found that the cherry supplement could significantly decrease post-workout muscle soreness in resistance-trained men, compared to the placebo group (JISSN,​ 2015, 12​:41).

“Attenuation of muscle catabolism and secondary markers of muscle damage following prolonged endurance exercise physiologically provides the body optimal conditions for quicker recovery in preparation for subsequent performance bouts,” ​explained Dr Kreider and his team.

Markers of inflammation were also significantly reduced in the tart cherry group (by 47%), compared with the placebo group, and differences between the groups was also observed for muscle soreness, with 34 % lower pre-run soreness in the tart cherry group, compared with placebo.

“Attenuation of inflammatory markers over the 48-h recovery also demonstrates significant promise with powdered tart cherry supplementation. Coupled with the dampening of the inflammatory response, the powdered tart cherry subjects seemed to better maintain post-run redox balance compared to placebo supplemented subjects.

“The initial effectiveness on aerobic performance, serum markers of muscle catabolism, physiological stress, and inflammatory mechanisms coupled with a more stable post-run redox balance potentially indicates a reduction in secondary muscle damage as a result of powdered tart cherry supplementation.”

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
2016, 13​:22, doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0133-z
“Effects of powdered Montmorency tart cherry supplementation on acute endurance exercise performance in aerobically trained individuals”
Authors: K. Levers, et al.

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