Historically, a number of approaches to prevent exercise-induced muscle pain and damage have been examined, but few have been effective. Declan Connolly, associate professor of education and director of the human performance laboratory at the University of Vermont and colleagues at New York's Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma and Cornell University, evaluated the efficacy of a fresh, highly-concentrated, specially- processed tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage in a randomized, placebo-controlled study in 14 male college students.
"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 Connolly. "Only two species of mammals suffer this type of muscle damage horses and humans."
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 blended with commercially available apple juice.
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 bl
Contact: Jennifer Nachbur
University of Vermont