Could Tart Cherry Juice Combat Muscle Soreness?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Six weeks from today, I, along with 11 of my fellow SparkPeople running pals of the Sparkin' Hood to Coast Team, will be participating in one of the most prestigious long distance relays in the world--The Hood to Coast Relay. The relay begins on the slopes of Mt. Hood at the Timberline Lodge and winds through the Oregon terrain until the last runner crosses the finish line 197 miles down the road in the town of Seaside.

Each runner is given three distinct legs of varying distances, averaging 16 total miles, to be completed within a 31 hour time limit. Participants are expected to provide their own food, water and other amenities. We will be sleeping in short shifts, riding in a van, or waiting at the transition point until it is our turn to run. And because there is little time for muscle recovery in between runs, it has been reported that some runners have been known to experience soreness and stiffness during this time.

So you may be wondering what tart cherry juice has do with running the Hood to Coast Relay?

Well, as luck would have it, I was reviewing my Runner's World email from last week and lo and behold there was a mention of Hood to Coast participants "who drank tart cherry juice twice daily for a week before and during the 197-mile relay and reported feeling less pain than placebo drinkers."

Since being told last year during my RRCA running coach's certification class regarding the unfavorable side effects of using anti-inflammatory meds such as Aleve and Motrin for muscle aches and pains, I have been looking into more natural ways of helping my body speed recovery, including using whole foods, icing after my runs and performing self-myofascial release.

I have known for some time now about the anti-inflammatory properties of consuming blueberries, dark chocolate and pomegranates, but I had never heard of the benefits of consuming tart cherries and tart cherry juice to help lessen muscle soreness and inflammation.

According to Kerry Kuehl, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine and lead author of the study regarding the use of tart cherry juice for recovery, "the runners who drank 10.5 ounces of Montmorency cherry juice twice a day for seven days prior to the race and then drank that amount every eight hours on race day experienced less inflammation and reported faster muscle strength recovery."

Upon reading this information I put a notice out to my fellow runners about this new finding. Hopefully by the time I make the trek from Texas to Oregon there will be plenty of tart cherry juice waiting in the vans for us all to drink up as we travel down the winding roads and embark on one of the greatest journeys in running.

Were you aware of the benefits of tart cherry juice? How much would you be willing to spend for this juice if the facts show that it actually does diminish inflammation? Do you believe the antioxidant qualities of certain foods live up to the hype?

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I used to drink the tart cherry juice for my arthritis, but it was really giving me terrible gas. It was to bad, because I really enjoyed the taste, but the side effects was a little embarrassing. I never realized it but each glass had over 25 grams of sugar and with me trying to get rid of the baby fat, it wasn't helping. I talked with my doctor and she said the gas was being caused the sorbital. She recommended the Fruit Advantage cherry capsules and now no gas.
I take 1000mg tart cherry capsules from Puritan's Pride every day. i was taking Traverse City Montmorency caps, proven to be the best made, but they were triple the price for the same product. MY fibro and arthritis have eased about 40%. Being diabetic, I am unable to do the juice or paste.. Report
I somehow missed this when you first published it. I just learned about tart cherry juice concentrate from my physical therapist this morning. She said it's effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory is supported by at least 5 articles in mainstream medical journals. Thought you'd like to know. Report
The best cherry gelcap on the market is cherryflex It is a paste not a powder.
Their cherry juice "Fruit Fast" is also available at Kroger stores in the produce section. It is cold filled and delicious. It may be a little expensive but if you figure out a 32 day supply it is less then 50 cents per day. Well worth it. Enjoy! It's like picking cherries right off the tree Report
I used to drink the cherry juice but it was spiking my blood sugar levels. My doctor suggested I start taking the cherry capsules instead of drink the cherry juice. She recommended the Fruit Advantage cherry capsule and they work wonders. Here is link if you're interested
Here is a website for tart cherries supplements and juice etc.Fruit Fast
Montmorency CherryFlex phone- 877-591-3101
Thanks for sharing! I'm always looking for healthy, natural remedies. Report
I bought the wrong cherry juice and then found the right one at GNC. The tart cherry juice I bought said to mix with water. Instead I mix it with a bit of the "wrong" cherry juice and it is delicious. I think it's helping so far -- but I just started. Report
they sell it in the Kroger (groceries) here in Ohio. It's fairly expensive. I think we can pretty much discount much of what the FDA controls....and yet I find myself using less suppliments. I guess what I am saying, if I were to use the cherries it would BE cherry juice or cherries, not a suppliment! I am eating a plant based diet and I think that will help also. Report
I already know there are tons of holistic remedies out there, I'm just always disappointed by how expensive they become once the general public determines they want the product. However, suffering now from minor arthritis in my fingers, toes, and hips, having an anti-inflammatory that isn't a pill or chemical will be good. I'll read more, research more, and then make an informed decision. Thanks for the heads-up and congrats on your race! Report
Wow! I just canned some tart cherry juice for lack of a better idea what to do with the cherries. I didn't want to pit them, so this was my choice. Now I know what to do with my pint jars of tart cherry juice. Report
Read about this in Runner's World Mag a few months back but haven't put it into practice. Not a fan of NSAIDs after reading of the associated dangers; never use them. Hmmm.... now to find me some tart cherry juice! Thanks Coach!! Report
WOW that is great several g f 's have fibro and my husband had a heart attack and they stripped a vein in his ankle and he gets alot of pain when he walks this might be worth trying... thank you for the info Report
In response to those not sure where to get tart cherry juice, you can get it in concentrated form at Mother's Market, too. They're in SoCal, but don't know if they have them elsewhere. I drank 8 oz daily for a few months to combat muscle soreness after hikes, but now I've stopped and don't notice a difference either way. Report
I live in Northern Michigan where there is an abundance of Cherry orchards. I have heard that tart cherry juice does help. They sell concentrated cherry juice up here and there is also a national company that sell a product called cherryflex or something like that. It is a gel a believe that is portable for runners. We just got done with our Cherry Festival up here in Traverse City. I ran the 15K race on the 10th. Report
I know Jeff Galloway says drinking the tart cherry juice a week before a race and afterwards helps greatly with recovery. Report
I wonder if drinking the cherry juice can help with fibromyalgia soreness. May just give it a try. Thanks for the info. :) Report
I have heard this before. Let us know how it works and good luck on the race. My friend ran it last year and had a total blast!!! Report
This is also helpful for aeterial plaque, but please be aware that since this has anti-inflammatory properties,check with your dr. if you take aspirin,nsaids,plavix,cumidin etc,,Like all other anti-inflammatories, this product can cause bleeding. Report
One more thing: at the expo for the last race I participated in (I ran 5K, but they also have a popular 10K and half marathon), there was a group giving away samples of dried cherries and tart cherry juice, promoting the race recovery features! Report
I live in Michigan so cherry juice is fairly easy to come by. I just finished freezing a couple of quarts of tart cherries, but I plan to use them in pies. :^) However, every time I pit them, I drain off the juice and drink it. I love it!

And probably because I live in Michigan (a key producer of tart cherries), I've known about some of the health benefits of tart cherries for awhile. For example, they're good for people who suffer from gout. We send some to my BIL every year at Christmas!

Please remember that tart cherries are not the same as the sweet cherries that you're more likely to see in the grocery store! Report
Has anyone heard or tried Elderberry juice? I used it for a while it also helps with allergies. Report
Eatin several tart cherries reportedly is good for gout so I am assuming that it reduces the inflamation so yeah, why not muscles too? Just the other day on the news it was reported that tart cherry juice 2x a day also helped those with insomnia sleep better..........oh, the wonders of natural healing as compared to the drugs that can be more harmful than conditions it is used to treat!!! Report
Good luck on the Hood to Coast. I live in Seaside and that is always a wild wild week-end in town... I'll be rooting for you! Report
I actually have some in my fridge, but haven't had a chance to try it. I need to do that, b/c as of late, I've been real achy after workouts. Report
I have never heard of nor tried cherry juice, but I have been taking evening primrose oil and flaxseed on and off for years with great results. I will have to find/try this too! Thanks for the info. Report
I believe that most anything we need can be found in Nature but the only problem is knowing where to look or what to try. My father has sworn by cherry juice for the inflammation of Gout for years so there is something to it. Report
I have used cherry juice (and cranberry juice) medicinally for many years now. I use one ounce at at time (a shot glass) twice daily. I used it to help me when I discontinued the use of gabapentin. I swear by it. It has helped with joint and muscle pain better than the drug. I am rarely in need of my pain meds any more.
Unfortunately my doctor thinks I'm nuts and keeps insisting on prescribing them. Report
Careful if you have any stomach inflammation as this is very acidic. Yes I did try it. It helped muscles but increased the gastritis pain. My son, however who has a stronger stomach than I, swears by it for his muscle cramps and even pseudo gout. Report
Tart cherry juice is also good for Gout/ Inflammation Just drink 2 cups a day as a snack. Tastes great..or eat some tart dark red cherries. It does help !! Report
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of certain cherries (probably all cherries, actually) has been known for a long time. Studies on just the juice would seem lacking to me as it is my opinion that eating the whole fruit has more benefits but I really don't know. I do know that yes I totally believe in the benefit of cherries as an analgesic, have been keeping bags of frozen unsweetened organic cherries in freezer for years, make very good smoothies either with or without other ingredients and they definitely are analgesic (and yummy). Report
Do you believe the antioxidant qualities of certain foods live up to the hype?

Read more:

yes Report
My Mother used dried cherries (which she started drying herself) to help with inflammation. She would pit the cherries and then dry them. She might have used something like fruit fresh to keep them the bright red color, but she dried them by the bushel. She shared them with a niece who danced a lot and would get inflammation. They would both eat 7-8 dried cherries a day. Report
So you have to buy the frozen ones then, for most of the year, in order to keep the affect going then? Whatever is in those tart cherries has to be in some other fruits too, maybe someone can pick one out that doesn't cost so danged much!!!! It's like the blueberry producers, there is a shortage of blueberries now, so you could almost have to go down to the weird part of town to get them from a "dealer", they are in such short supply. Report
Great article! I had no idea about this. I'm going to look for cherry juice. I'm not much for drinking juices, but if it helps, it's worth it. Report
I eat a lot of cherries. I don't know where in the world to find cherry juice though. Report
I've been told it works miracles for gout. Trader Joe carries it. Most supermarkets have it in a mixed form with other juices. At Trader Joe's it is plain, straight cherry juice. Report
I had heard this before but have never tried it. So far I have not been able to find it in a local store. I'm allergic to NSAIDs and I love tart cherries, so I would love to try some yummy tart cherry juice instead. Report
can we order this in 55 gal drum??? Report
That is amazing information! I must remember it! Report
I know if let to my own devices, I could eat that amount of cherries in a day . . . yum! Report
Great to see an Oregonian on the "spotlight" blogs. Good information about the cherry juice. Maybe I will wee you on the HTC course. I am part of the motorcycle safety patrol (Rose City MC). Good luck in the race I will be rooting for the team. Look for me on Leg 16 and 17. (Scappoose to Columbia Fairgrounds. Report
I haven't heard of these benefits of the cherry juice however, I do eat the fruit cherries and have a friend who eats the dried fruit for her gout! Good education, thanx! Report
I love cherries and eat them when I can get them. I never heard about the cherry juice but I am going to start looking for it and drinking it... Report
They make a cherry extract that you probably dont have to take near as much of for the benefits. It can probably be found at whole foods stores or health food stores. I havent looked into it myself but I know friends on my fibromyalgia groups are using it for their pain. Report
Vitamin C taken during the same time frame will also do the same thing. It repairs all the little tears in the muscles quicker and with less pain. I read of this in an article by a man in his 50s at the time who went on a bird hunting trip out west with two younger companoins. He out walked the two young men with little muscle pain or fatigue, by taking large amounts of the V C a few weeks before and during the trip,heswore by it and large doses of V C will not harm you one bit. Report
My husband and I both drink it. 2 Tablespoons in a glass of water. It is very refreshing and doesn't have that gaggy sweet taste. My husband sho has had 6 back surgeries swears by it and says he can feel the difference when he hasn't had it for a few days. We both think of it as cheap/healthy insurance. Report
I had no idea that tart cherries had such good effects on the body. Thanks for sharing. Report
Thanks for the info-- did not know! Report
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