Cherry Juice May Prevent Muscle Damage Pain

The cherry on top: the red juice may
ease muscle pain; © Hemera

"The anti-inflammatory properties of cherry juice have been examined before, but the focus of this research was on a new area – muscle damage repair," said Declan Connolly, associate professor of education and director of the human performance laboratory at the University of Vermont.

The study participants were asked to either drink a bottle of the cherry juice blend twice a day for three days before exercise and for four days afterwards, or to drink a placebo juice containing no cherries. The 12-ounce bottle of juice contained the liquid equivalent of 50 to 60 tart cherries.

The participants performed a type of muscle-damaging exercise – flexing and tensing one arm 20 times – that creates contractions in which the muscle is lengthened. Muscle tenderness, motion, and strength were assessed on each of the days before and after exercise, using standard pieces of equipment designed for the purpose. Study participants rated their muscle soreness on a scale of one to ten. The whole process was repeated all over again two weeks later, with those who had taken the placebo juice taking the cherry juice blend instead, and vice versa. The other arm was also used.

There was a significant difference in the degree of muscle strength loss between those drinking the cherry juice blend and those taking the placebo juice. This fell by 22 percentage points in those drinking the placebo juice, but only by four percentage points in those drinking cherry juice. Muscle strength had slightly improved after 96 hours in those drinking cherry juice.

The degree of soreness differed little between the two groups, but the average pain score was significantly less in those drinking cherry juice. Average pain scores came in at 3.2 for those drinking the placebo juice and 2.4 for those drinking cherry juice. Pain also peaked at 24 hours for those drinking cherry juice, but continued to increase for those on the placebo juice for the subsequent 48 hours.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Vermont