What Are the Benefits of Tart Cherry Capsules?

Tart cherry capsules feature antioxidants that offer you many health benefits such as facilitating exercise recovery by decreasing inflammation. (Image: Eugene03/iStock/GettyImages)

People have enjoyed the tart cherry since ancient times. Modern-day manufacturers use this fruit, also known as the sour cherry, in many kinds of products. They typically use the flesh of Montmorency cherry, Prunus cerasus, to make supplements, extracts and juices. Tart cherry offers you many health benefits ranging from increased exercise performance to decreased bad cholesterol.

Tip

You become more vulnerable to illness after doing an intense workout. Taking tart cherry capsules can help keep your immune system strong during such challenges, according to a 2014 report in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Tart Cherry Capsules

Tart cherries capsules feature many kinds of biochemicals. However, only a few of these substances will improve your health. A__nthocyanins like cyanidin give some vegetables and fruits a bright color, and they can have many positive effects on your body. These effects include inhibiting cancer growth.

Dietitians typically recommend eating whole foods, but nutritional supplements can play a positive role in health promotion as well. Fortunately, you can benefit from both choices. A 2016 report in the NFS Journal showed that there was no significant difference in the anthocyanin content of food products and that in dietary aids when measured as milligram per serving. Also, processing doesn't destroy the anthocyanin content of cherries.

Tart Cherry Increases Antioxidant Capacity

The exact mechanisms underlying the health benefits of tart cherry use remain unknown. However, they seem to involve the potent antioxidant effects of this fruit. A 2019 report in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism showed these effects in healthy men.

These researchers used a high-fat meal to trigger antioxidant defenses in the men. Participants received tart cherries during the meal. Compared to a placebo, eating the cherries increased the antioxidant capacity of the subjects. The cherries also lowered their triglycerides.

You can take advantage of these impressive antioxidant effects with a tart cherry supplement. A 2016 paper in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows you how. In this study, subjects took 480 milligrams of powdered tart cherry each day during the week before a half-marathon race. After the race, they had a better balance of free radical production and free radical elimination.

Tart Cherry Decreases Muscle Soreness

Doing an unusually hard workout will trigger symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness, DOMS. These symptoms can discourage people from working out, so scientists have sought potential remedies. The antioxidant properties of tart cherry products suggest that they might help treat DOMS. A 2016 article in the journal Nutrients tested this idea in soccer players.

Participants received a drink featuring 30 milliliters of tart cherry juice twice a day for eight days. During the testing period, the soccer players did a battery of intense exercises. This battery triggered symptoms of DOMS in a placebo condition. Drinking the tart cherry juice attenuated these symptoms.

Tart cherry capsules also decrease post-exercise pain, according to a 2015 report in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. These researchers gave healthy men a capsule featuring 480 milligrams of tart cherry powder for seven days before, and two days after, resistance exercise training. Compared to a placebo, this treatment decreased subjective feelings of muscle soreness and biochemical markers of muscle damage.

Tart Cherry Increases Sleep Efficiency

Cherries are a rich source of the biochemicals involved in sleep, according to a 2018 article in Nutrients. These chemicals include tryptophan, melatonin and serotonin. This finding suggests that tart cherry use could help people with sleep disorders. A 2018 paper in the American Journal of Therapeutics explored this possibility in older adults with insomnia.

Subjects received either tart cherry juice or a placebo each day for two weeks. They then received the other treatment for two weeks. Compared to a placebo, tart cherry juice increased total sleep time and sleep efficiency. It also increased tryptophan and decreased inflammation.

The sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice have yet to be shown with tart cherry capsules, but similar results should occur. After all, both treatments similarly affect hormones like insulin.

Tart Cherry Decreases Chronic Inflammation

Having chronic inflammation and oxidation from an unhealthy diet contributes to diabetes and obesity. Tart cherries feature many polyphenols, which decrease such processes, according to a 2016 paper in Antioxidants. This finding suggests that tart cherries might help fight these metabolic diseases. A 2018 report in Food and Function tested this hypothesis in overweight adults.

Subjects received 240 milliliters either tart cherry juice or a placebo each day for four weeks. After a two-week break, they switched to the opposite condition. Compared to a placebo, the tart cherry juice decreased the participants' erythrocyte sedimentation rate, ESR. People with diseases like arthritis often show an increased ESR suggesting that tart cherry might help manage inflammation in this disorder.

Tart cherry supplements also have a positive effect on inflammation in laboratory and animal models. A 2018 report in Nutrients showed that tart cherry extract decreased the inflammation caused by a high-fat diet in rats. These researchers also showed that the extracts decreased inflammation in cultured cells taken from these animals. Such findings suggest that taking tart cherry capsules can help you balance your diet.

Tart Cherry Increases Athletic Performance

The anthocyanins in tart cherries can do more than just improve your health. They can also improve your performance. A 2016 paper in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine showed this effect in female and male athletes.

Participants received either 100 milligrams of the anthocyanin or 100 milligrams of a placebo each day for six weeks. Compared to a placebo, the anthocyanin intake increased athletic performance on a fitness test. More specifically, the treatment increased the subjects' aerobic fitness as measured by the VO2 max.

Taking tart cherry capsules can help you improve your athletic performance as well. A 2016 report in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed how supplementing tart cherry can make you faster. In this study, subjects received either 480 milligrams of tart cherry powder or a placebo for a week before a half-marathon race. Runners given tart cherry powder completed the race 13 percent faster than those given a placebo.

Tart Cherry Decreases Uric Acid

Cherry products have long been recognized as a potential treatment for gout. In fact, 42 percent of gout patients use cherries or cherry extracts to help manage their symptoms. Decreases in uric acid seem to mediate this effect. A 2019 paper in Current Developments in Nutrition documented this effect in overweight adults.

Subjects drank 240 milliliters of cherry juice or a placebo drink each day for four weeks. After four weeks, they drank the opposite treatment. Compared to a placebo drink, the cherry juice caused a 19 percent decrease in uric acid. It also decreased other biomarkers of inflammation.

If you have symptoms of gout, a tart cherry supplement might help you manage them. A 2014 report in the Journal of Functional Foods showed that mixing the supplement into water can make a drink with the power of 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries. This treatment decreases uric acid in healthy adults. It also decreases high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker for heart disease.

Warning

Please speak with a health care expert before self-diagnosing a medical condition or taking a dietary aid. She can catch an undiagnosed condition, track your progress and warn you about the possible side effects of nutritional supplements.

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