Science shows tart cherry helps with muscle soreness

Photo by Abigail Miller on Unsplash

Different scientific studies sometimes find different results for the same phenomenon being examined, but a majority of studies on tart cherry have found that it has benefits for people with sore muscles.

And as a bonus, tart cherry supplements may increase muscle strength and athletic performance, studies have found. It may also help combat gout and act as a body cleanser.

What's not to like?

What the studies of tart cherry found

In one study, in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,researchers gave 355 ml of tart cherry juice and a cherry juice placebo to male and female long-distance runners for seven days before a race [1].

The study found that those in the placebo group reported less muscle pain relief than those in the group that actually got the tart cherry juice (TC). "Ingesting tart cherry juice for 7 days prior to and during a strenuous running event can minimize post-run muscle pain," the study concluded.

Another study, in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports,found similar results [2]. This study, too, used placebos. And it studied the chemistry of muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

The results:

  • Isometric strength recovered significantly faster in those taking cherry juice.
  • Inflammation was reduced

The study concluded:

The cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function.

In a commentary about studies of tart cherry and its benefits for athletes in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports,the reviewers say [3]:

TC lessens pain and accelerates strength recovery after exercise and decreases blood markers of inflammation/oxidative stress. These improvements occur in both strength and endurance exercise. TC supplementation may not be optimal during the adaptation/build stage of training. However, excessive inflammatory/oxidative stress during single-day intense training/competition or multiday tournaments may delay return to peak form. In this stage, where recovery (not adaptation) is the priority, TC may be beneficial. Therefore, for an athlete who has already peaked in training and looking to improve recovery and faster return to competition, TC may be beneficial.

The review says, "Timing and dosage vary widely, but most studies use 8 to 12 oz (1 oz if concentrate form) twice a day, 4- to 5-d loading phase before the event, and 2 to 3 d after to promote recovery."

Those first two studies were studies of runners. Other research has found that tart cherry can help reduce pain in those doing resistance training or weightlifting [4, 5].

Tart cherry can increase muscle strength

In other studies, it was found that tart cherry juice can increase the strength of muscles.

A dietitian discusses the benefits of tart cherry.

Healthline reports [6]:

One group of men was given tart cherry supplements or a placebo in the days leading up to and immediately following an intense resistance training session.

The tart cherry group lost up to 4% less muscle strength as a result of the training when compared to men given the placebo.

Still other research studies have found that tart cherry supplements may also reduce muscle soreness and breakdown, and speed recovery in weightlifters.

Other steps to reduce post-workout soreness

VALI's blog has a posting titled Post workout soreness? Here's what to do![7] Among the tips are:

  • Drink a lot of water, which helps with inflammation, getting rid of your body’s toxins and waste products, and supplying your system with nutrients.
  • Supplying your body with sufficient nutrients is an essential part of healing. Eat protein and carbohydrates – ideally 20 to 40 grams of each, half an hour after your workout that’s lasted over an hour.
  • Alternate between light and intense workouts. a big portion of recovery is Allowing blood circulation in your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients needed for repair. But to strike a balance between this and not causing more damage to your muscle tissues, you can follow up your intense workout with some light, restorative ones.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Apply ice packs or heat packs to sore spots.

 VALI's organic Tart Cherry supplement

VALI Tart Cherry [8] is formulated to control and cleanse uric acid levels, and provide joint and muscle relief through a safe, plant-based supplement that helps you restore comfortable movement.

The supplement also contains:

Organic Celery Seed

Used for centuries around the world in traditional medicine, celery seeds are a powerful diuretic that help stimulate the urinary system to flush out and release uric acid from the body. Celery is also a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps relieve joint pain and discomfort.

Bilberry Fruit

Rich in anthocyanins and antioxidants to protect against oxidative damage, bilberry helps fight inflammation, is linked to circulatory health, and helps support healthy blood sugar levels.

The capsules are available on VALI's Amazon page [9] and on the website (see link above).

In addition to its benefits for athletes, studies have found tart cherry juice or supplements can help ward of gout attacks. Buy more cherries in the supermarket or consider taking supplements like the VALI Organic Tart Cherry Extract,which has an advanced anti-inflammatory blend to protect against oxidative stress better than sweet cherries alone.

It should be noted that tart or sour cherries are redder than the darker sweet cherries, which do not have the same healthful advantages of tart cherries.