Cherry Juice Reduces Oxidative Stress in Cyclists

Cyclists who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate before a three-day simulated race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress compared with those who drank another beverage, according to a recent United Kingdom study published in Nutrients.

A research team led by Glyn Howatson, PhD, laboratory director of the department of sport, exercise, and rehabilitation at Northumbria University, with Phillip Bell, a PhD student at Northumbria University, gave 16 well-trained male cyclists about 1 oz (30 mL) of Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate mixed with water (equivalent to 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries per serving) or a calorie-matched placebo twice daily for seven days. On days five, six, and seven, the participants performed prolonged, high-intensity cycling intervals—exercise that was designed to replicate the demands of a three-day race.

The researchers collected blood samples and found that markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were significantly lower in the cyclists who consumed the tart cherry juice concentrate compared with those who didn’t. At one point during the trial, oxidative stress was nearly 30% lower in the tart cherry group compared with the other group.

Strenuous exercise can cause temporary inflammation and oxidative stress that can lead to muscle damage, muscle soreness, and a reduced capacity to recover quickly, Howatson says. He attributes the recovery benefits shown in the study to the natural compounds in Montmorency tart cherries, such as anthocyanins.

“Previous studies have looked at tart cherries and the effect on recovery following weight-lifting exercise and marathon running, but until now there hasn’t been information on recovery following strenuous exercise from cycling,” Howatson says. “We found that those cyclists that consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice had statistically significant lower indices of inflammation and metabolic oxidative stress, which is the first time it has been demonstrated following this type of exercise.”

Source: Cherry Marketing Institute