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Tart Cherry Juice in Athletes: A Literature Review and Commentary

Vitale, Kenneth C. MD1; Hueglin, Shawn PhD, RD2; Broad, Elizabeth PhD, APD3

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000385
Nutrition and Ergogenic Aids: Section Articles

Tart cherry (TC) juice has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenol compounds. 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. 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. Therefore, for an athlete who has already peaked in training and looking to improve recovery and faster return to competition, TC may be beneficial.

Summary Statement: Tart cherry juice in athletes may reduce pain, inflammation/oxidative stress, and promote faster recovery to baseline. Preliminary studies suggest improved performance.

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California San Diego, 2United States Olympic Committee, Chula Vista, CA; and 3United States Olympic Committee, Chula Vista, CA

Address for correspondence: Kenneth Vitale, MD, University of California San Diego, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 350 Dickinson Street, Suite 121, San Diego, CA 92013, kvitale@ucsd.edu.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Sports Medicine.