Tart cherry concentrate may combat post-exercise oxidative and inflammatory responses

Tart cherry concentrate may combat post-exercise oxidative and inflammatory responses

Daily consumption of a Montmorency tart cherry concentrate may reduce increases in markers of inflammation and oxidative stress after exercise, says a new study with trained cyclists.

Two daily doses of the tart cherry concentrate was associated with significantly lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), compared to placebo, according to findings published in Nutrients.

“This is the first study to investigate the impact of Montmorency cherries on systemic inflammatory and oxidative stress induced by a series of metabolically challenging cycling bouts,” wrote scientists from Northumbria University (England), the University of Stirling (Scotland), and the University of Ulster (Northern Ireland).

“Despite both groups demonstrating a similar drop off in performance and no differences in time trial performance, the results show that both oxidative stress and inflammatory responses were attenuated with Montmorency cherry concentrate supplementation versus placebo.”

The new study used a tart cherry concentrate from Cherry Active and was sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute.

Sports nutrition market

The study supports a number of other studies reporting the potential benefits of cherry, and tart cherries, in particular. Indeed, a previous study (Journal of Nutrition, 2006, Vol. 136, pp. 981-986) reported that daily consumption of 45 cherries could reduce circulating concentrations of inflammatory markers, with the researchers proposing that the flavonoids and anthocyanins in the cherries exert an anti-inflammatory effect and may lessen the damage response to exercise.

According to the researchers, a 30 mL dose of the tart cherry concentrate used in the new study is equivalent to about 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries. The concentrate is reported to contain 9 mg/mL of anthocyanins.

Study details

The new study, led by Phillip Bell from Northumbria University, found that the tart cherry concentrate may be of added importance in sports where “back-to-back performances cause appreciable levels of inflammation and oxidative stress”, such as high intensity cycling.

Bell and his co-workers included 16 trained cyclists in their study, and assigned them to two doses per day of 30 mL of the cherry concentrate or placebo for seven days. The cyclists underwent a 109-minute simulated, high-intensity road cycling trial on days 5, 6 and 7.

Results showed that LOOH, a marker of oxidative stress, was almost 30% lower in the cherry group after the third trial than in the placebo group.

In addition, markers of oxidative stress were significantly lower in the cherry group than the placebo group, which, “provides further support for the use of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate in the acceleration of recovery”, said the researchers.

“This study is the first to demonstrate attenuated oxidative stress and inflammation responses following supplementation with Montmorency tart cherry concentrate in an exercise task that induced stress almost exclusively from metabolic pathways,” they added. “We postulate that the observed reductions in oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with a greater ability to combat inflammation and the subsequent cascade of oxidative stress.”

Source: Nutrients
2014, Volume 6, Number 2, Pages 829-843; doi:10.3390/nu6020829
“Montmorency Cherries Reduce the Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Responses to Repeated Days High-Intensity Stochastic Cycling”
Authors: P.G. Bell, I.H. Walshe, G.W. Davison, E. Stevenson, G. Howatson

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