Drinking a glass of cherry juice after exercising
may help ease those aching muscles, hint results of
a small study funded by Cherrypharm Inc.
Researchers have identified a number of antioxidant
and anti-inflammatory compounds in tart cherries but
studies evaluating the fruit's effectiveness in alleviating
symptoms of inflammatory conditions have yielded mixed
results. One study, however, showed that men and women
who eat 45 cherries a day have lower levels of inflammatory
markers in their blood.
Dr. Declan A. J. Connolly, of the University of Vermont,
and colleagues investigated whether cherry juice taken
before and after a bout of exercise can reduce the
symptoms of muscle damage.
They had 14 male college students drink 12 ounces
of a blend of fresh cherry juice and apple juice or
a "placebo" black cherry Kool-aid drink twice a day
for eight days. On the fourth day, the men participated
in several rounds of elbow exercises.
Two weeks later, the men drank the alternate drink
over the same time period before again participating
in exercise. Following both rounds of exercise, the
men underwent various measurements of muscle strength
The investigators found that, overall, the men experienced
much less pain and retained more muscle strength after
exercising while drinking the cherry juice blend than
they did while drinking the Kool-aid drink.
For example, the degree of muscle strength loss fell
by 22 percentage points in those drinking the dummy
mixture but only by 4 percentage points in those drinking
cherry juice. Muscle strength even improved slightly
after 96 hours in those drinking cherry juice.
The degree of soreness differed little between the
two groups, but the average pain score was significantly
lower after consumption of cherry juice.
In light of the findings, Connolly suggests that
men and women, particularly those with "chronic, nagging
pain," might try supplementing their diet with cherry
Cherry juice contains many of the anti-inflammatory
and antioxidant properties "that many commercial drugs
contain... (but) from a natural source," Connolly
SOURCE: British Journal of Sports Medicine