Drinking cherry juice to reduce inflammatory reactions
The study titled "Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial" aimed to assess the effects of tart cherry juice compared to a placebo cherry drink on pain among runners in a long-distance relay race.
The study was conducted as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 54 healthy runners (36 male, 18 female) participating in the Hood to Coast relay race.
The participants were divided into two groups, with one group receiving tart cherry juice and the other group receiving a placebo cherry drink. They consumed 355 mL bottles of their assigned drink twice daily for seven days before the race and on the day of the race. Pain levels were assessed using a standard 100 mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS) at baseline, before the race, and after the race.
The results showed that both groups reported increased pain after the race, but the cherry juice group reported a significantly smaller increase in pain compared to the placebo group. The cherry juice group also expressed higher willingness to use the drink in the future and reported higher satisfaction with the pain reduction attributed to the drink.
Based on these findings, the study concluded that ingesting tart cherry juice for seven days before and during a strenuous running event can minimize post-run muscle pain. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries are thought to contribute to the protective effect in reducing muscle damage and pain during strenuous exercise.