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Cherry Juice for Muscle Pain?

September 7, 2006 04:08 PM
By Jim Brown, Ph.D, Author, Tennis: Steps to Success, Executive Editor, Sports Performance Journal

Cherry juice can reduce muscle pain and damage induced by exercise, according to a small study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Fourteen volunteers were asked to either drink fresh cherry juice combined with commercial apple juice twice a day for three days before exercise and for four days afterwards, or to drink a placebo mixture. The cherry juice blend consisted of 12 ounces and the equivalent of 50-60 cherries. Each group of subjects was asked to perform a series of eccentric exercises and to rate their muscle soreness on a 1-10 scale, and measures of pain and strength gain or loss were also recorded. The process was repeated two weeks later, but the cherry blend and placebo drinks were given to opposite groups.

Muscle strength loss declined by 22 percent in the placebo groups, but by only four percent in the cherry juice group. There was no significant difference in soreness between the two groups, but the average pain score was noticeably lower in the cherry group. Pain levels peaked at 24 hours for those drinking cherry juice, but continued to increase in the placebo group for 48 hours.

Small studies like this one are interesting and may show early promise for a particular substance or process. The fact that the study was published in a reputable periodical such as the British Journal of Sports Medicine also lends credibility to the research. However, the results can only be considered preliminary and much more research will be needed before a recommendation can be made regarding cherry juice to reduce muscle pain. This study was conducted by Dr. Declan Connolly at the University of Vermont.




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