Research Study: Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice in Reducing Muscle Pain during Running: A Randomized Controlled Trial - Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Why They Did The Study:
Long distance runners sustain muscle damage as a result of their physical exertion. This causes acute inflammation and muscle soreness. Some endurance athletes use Tart Cherries to prevent post-workout pain. This study seeks to find the validity of this claim and the extent of the effect that tart cherries can have on muscle recovery and soreness prevention.
HowThey Did The Study:
The experimenters enlisted 54 runners, male and female, and assigned about half the group tart cherry juice and the other half a placebo drink. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Which means that neither the researchers nor the runners knew who was getting the actual cherry juice versus the placebo. This was done to increase the legitimacy of the study and reduce bias. The runners were made to run an average of 26.3 km every day for seven days prior to a race. During this seven day time period and on the day of the race, the runners consumed tart cherry juice or the placebo twice a day. The runners were then made to assess their level of pain before and after the race.
Not surprisingly, all participants experienced more pain after the race. However, participants who had supplemented with tart cherries experienced less pain overall compared to those who were given the placebo drink. Participants given the tart cherry were also more willing to use the drink in the future.
Taking tart cherry juice or supplements can protect against the inflammatory effect caused by physical exertion like running. It can decrease acute inflammation and reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Kuehl, Kerry S., Erica T. Perrier, Diane L. Elliot, and James C. Chesnutt. "Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice in Reducing Muscle Pain during Running: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7, no. 1 (2010)