Rich in Anti-Oxidants to Support a Healthier Body
The "after-burn" following a good workout, run, or sports session is often all the proof we need that we gave things our all. When our body aches, we know we've pushed it to the limit. In the absence of pain, clearly we weren’t working hard enough.
But what happens when the post-workout burn over-extends its stay? What if on day two or three, when we’re ready to exercise again with a fresh, rejuvenated body, we’re still aching from our last session? Now the muscle soreness that was once a badge of honor is nothing more than a stumbling block along our path to physical fitness. Our joints are too stiff to exercise again, so we take a day off … and then another … and then another. You get the picture.
Exercise-induced soreness is normal, but…
Adding a natural, anti-inflammatory product to your routine can help minimize the soreness you feel after vigorous activity so you’re always ready to go the next time around. Labrada’s new Tart Cherry anti-oxidant should be taken for this very reason. Containing rich natural compounds that have been shown to support the relief of occasional inflammation, Tart Cherry can help speed up your recuperation time in between workouts or other bouts of physical activity. Reports on the main compounds in Tart Cherry support its ability to do so: In a study that tested the efficacy of tart cherry juice in preventing the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage, strength loss and pain were significantly less in the cherry juice trial versus placebo. This suggests that Tart Cherry has the potential to speed up recovery from exercise induced-muscle damage, thus allowing your body to adapt faster to increasing exercise demands. Bottom line: You can continue to exercise as scheduled, maintain your desired level of physical activity, and stay on track with reaching your goals.
It's not just about reducing soreness
A growing body of evidence suggests that chronic inflammation (also known as "silent inflammation") contributes to the development of common age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even aging itself. As a natural anti-inflammatory with anti-oxidant health properties, Tart Cherry supports healthy joint function and helps reduce inflammation. It's important to note that Tart Cherry does not have the negative side effects of classical anti-inflammatory drugs, such as stomach ulcers, prolonged bleeding time, kidney problems, and others.
So much power in a fruit so small
So why Tart Cherry? Everyone is familiar with cherries – but not everyone may realize that they are rich in phenolic compounds, which are being examined for their potentially beneficial health effects. Most notably, the anthocyanins extracted from cherries have been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Cherries also contain other interesting substances that, when combined, make this fruit a powerful tool in guarding against common health concerns, such as the ones listed above.
Labrada's Tart Cherry contains 1200mg Cherry Pure in two capsules, the equivalent of approximately 80 cherries. Prepared from mature, clean, Montmorency tart cherries, this pure fruit concentrate is free of artificial flavors, colors or additives.
Watching your weight and cardiovascular health?
You may be familiar with the term "metabolic syndrome," which has been described as "a combination of medical disorders that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes."
Animal studies show that intake of tart cherry, due to its rich content of anthocyanin, has beneficial effects on many aspects of metabolic syndrome-related disorders. In these studies, results showed that the tart cherry supplementation reduced hyperlipidemia (elevated blood lipid levels), percentage of fat mass, abdominal fat, body weight, and levels and activity of several inflammatory markers. While studies are still out on the effects of Tart Cherry on humans, first-hand accounts and testimonials from people already using the product are promising.
There’s a lot more to learn about tart cherries – for example, their role in supporting normal sleep patterns. Because tart cherries are one of the few food sources of the sleep hormone melatonin, they may actually improve sleep quality. To learn more about this and other tart cherry benefits, please see our Digging Deeper into the Science section by Monica Mollica BSc , MSc.
Digging Deeper Into The Science
What are Tart Cherries
Cherries, both sweet and tart, are rich in phenolic compounds, including anthocyanins (responsible for red skin and flesh color of cherries), catechins, chlorogenic acid, flavonal and glycosides 1,2. Many phenolic compounds are being studied for their potentially beneficial health effect. Anthocyanins extracted from cherries especially have been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties 1-3. Cherries also contain other interesting substances, that together makes this fruit a multi-pronged weapon against many common health concerns and diseases. Labrada’s Tart Cherry contains 1200mg.
The word inflammation is most often taken as synonymous with the typical acute inflammatory signs of pain, swelling, redness and heat, and the sensation of being "set on fire". Although uncomfortable, acute inflammation plays a critical role in the body's response to injuries, such as exercise induced muscle damage, sprains, strains, and fractures, and to bacterial, viral and allergenic invaders 4. However, there is another less known type of inflammation called chronic inflammation (or low-grade "silent" inflammation). Chronic inflammation is invisible and thereby insidious in that it contributes to development of prevalent common diseases that traditionally have not been considered to be inflammatory, including heart disease 5-7, the metabolic syndrome 8, diabetes 5, cognitive decline/Alzheimer's 5,6, chronic kidney disease 6 and cancer 6,9,10. Even aging itself 11-13, and aging related muscle loss (also known as sarcopenia) has recently been shown to have an inflammatory component 14,15. Higher levels of inflammatory markers are associated with greater declines in muscle strength among elderly 16, and also lower muscle strength in adolescents 17. It also contributes to muscle wasting 18 and attenuates the response to resistance training 19. A growing body of evidence suggest that chronic inflammation is one of the most important biological mechanisms underlying the decline in physical function that is often observed over the aging process 20-22.
Tart cherry exerts its anti-inflammatory effect via several mechanism; it inhibits COX (cyclooxygenase) 23, the enzyme that is responsible for the formation of prostanglandins and other mediators of the inflammatory response. Thereby, tart cherry has a mechanism of action to classical anti-inflammatory drugs but without the negative side effects such as stomach ulcers, prolonged bleeding time, kidney problems. Tart Cherry also lowers several non-COX inflammatory markers (see below). This has led to speculation that cherry consumption may be effective in alleviating symptoms in inflammatory conditions.
Decreased symptoms of exercise induced muscle damage after weight lifting Exercise induced muscle damage is a common phenomenon caused by heavy workouts, and new types of workouts to which the body hasn't adapted 24,25. It results in increased muscle soreness, a temporary decrease in muscle strength, a rise in passive tension, and swelling, as well as in increase in intramuscular proteins in blood 24. While exercise induced muscle damage is a normal response to unaccustomed exercise, it can have a profound negative effect on the ability to perform subsequent bouts of exercise, and adherence to an exercise training program.
Studies prove Tart Cherry reduces muscle damage
In a study that tested the efficacy of tart cherry juice in preventing the symptoms of exercise induced muscle damage, male college students drank 12 fl oz of a cherry juice blend or a placebo twice a day for eight consecutive days 26. A bout of biceps curls (2 x 20 maximum contractions) was performed on the fourth day of supplementation. The protocol was repeated two weeks later. Strength, muscle tenderness and pain were recorded before and after the exercise bouts. Strength loss and pain were significantly less in the cherry juice trial versus placebo. Most notably, strength loss averaged over the four days after the exercise bout was 22% with placebo but only 4% with the cherry juice 26. This finding could indicate that cherry juice speeds up recuperation from exercise induced muscle damage, and thus allow the body to faster adapt to increasing exercise demands.
While the results of this study indicate a protective effect of cherry juice against exercise induced muscle damage, it is not possible to conclude that cherry juice supplementation prevented muscle damage, because only two indirect markers of damage showed an improvement 26. However, there was clearly a preservation of muscle function attributable to the cherry juice.
The cherry juice dose in this study (a bottle of 12 fl oz, twice daily) contained the equivalent of 50–60 cherries, and therefore subjects were consuming the 100–120 cherries a day. It should be noted that the juice was made of fresh cherries, not from concentrate. It is likely that this helped to preserve the phenolic compounds and anthocyanins. Each bottle of cherry juice provided at least 600 mg phenolic compounds and 40 mg anthocyanins. (Description)
Consume 2 capsules in the evening with food or as recommended by your health care professional.
If pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Keep out of reach of children. Protect from heat, light and moisture. Store at 15-30C or 59-86F.
Lower muscle pain after running and faster recovery of muscle strength Tart cherry is also effective for mitigating pain associated with exercise induced muscle damage caused by running. This was documented in a study on long distance runners who ran a race averaging 16 miles over a 24 hour period 27. Participants ingested 8 fl oz bottles of tart cherry juice or placebo cherry drink twice daily for 7 days prior to the event and on the day of the race. Participants assessed level of pain at baseline, before the race, and after the race. The results showed that while both groups reported increased pain after the race, the cherry juice group reported a significantly smaller increase in pain compared to the placebo group. Participants in the cherry juice group were more willing to use the drink in the future and reported higher satisfaction with the pain reduction they attributed to the drink 27.
Each bottle (10.5 fl oz) of tart cherry juice in this study contained the equivalent of 45-50 cherries, and provided the same amount of phenolic compounds and anthocyanins as the study cited above (600mg phenolic compounds and 40 mg anthocyanins) 27.
Similar findings were reported in another study in which runners who consumed tart cherry juice (2 bottles daily, each bottle of 8 fl oz providing 600mg phenolic compounds and 40 mg anthocyanins) for 5 days prior to and 48 hours after a marathon 28. This study is especially noteworthy in that it investigated the effect on not only indirect markers of muscle damage (muscle soreness and strength) but also on direct muscle damage markers (creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase) and inflammatory markers (CRP [C-reactive protein], IL-6 [interleukin-6]), uric acid, total antioxidant status, and oxidative stress, before and following the race.
It was found that the strength loss caused by exercise induced muscle damage recovered significantly faster in the cherry juice group, even though no effects was seen on the direct markers of muscle damage 28. Further, the tart cherry group exhibited a lower inflammatory response as indicated by reduced levels of all the measures inflammatory markers, and also uric acid (which is created when the body breaks down purines, which are natural substances found in all of the body's cells). In addition, total antioxidant status was 10% greater for all post-supplementation measures, and there was less oxidative stress in the cherry juice group than the placebo group 28. (Thus, tart cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total anti-oxidative capacity, reducing inflammation and lipid peroxidation, and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function.)
Prevention of chronic "silent" inflammation - CRP reduction
CRP (C-reactive protein) is one of the most studied inflammatory markers. Originally thought to be a marker for other processes that are part of the causal pathways leading to heart disease and cardiovascular complications, recent studies are showing that CRP may also directly promote the development and progression of atherosclerosis 29,30. Bearing this in mind, it is interesting that cherry lowers CRP-levels 31. More specifically, consuming Bing sweet cherries (280 g/d) for 28 days has been shown to lower CRP- levels by a whopping 25% 31.
This effect is notable in light of the fact that blood concentration of C-reactive protein predicts the risk of future heart attack and stroke 32-36, and that medical professionals recommend routine measurement of C-reactive protein in addition to lipid levels in order to improve the ability to identify persons at risk for cardiovascular events 29,34. Tart cherry's significant CRP lowering is significant, since currently there is no specific anti-inflammatory drug available for use in clinical practice that consistently reduces blood CRP-levels (note; statins lower CRP-levels 37, but not as their primary mechanism of action, and also brings along side effects 38-41) 29. Nothing beats Mother Nature!
Gout results from an overload of uric acid in the blood (hyper-uricemia), which accumulates and forms crystals in the joints, and thereby causes painful arthritis. Consumption of cherries and cherry products has been reported to alleviate arthritic pain and gout 42. Clinical case reports of patients with gout showed that consumption of 227 g of cherry products daily for 3 d to 3 mo reduced blood urate to normal levels and alleviated attacks of gouty arthritis 42. In a recent study, women aged 22–40 y consumed two servings (280 g) of cherries after an overnight fast. Blood and urine urate was measured before and after the cherry intake. It was found that blood urate decreased 15% after the cherry intake compared with before, and that urinary urate increased by 73% 43. The decrease in plasma urate after cherry consumption supports the anti-gout reputation of cherries.
Tart cherry juice was found in another study to benefit both gout and heart disease 44. Overweight and obese subjects consumed 8 ounces/day of tart cherry juice or placebo for 4 weeks. Tart cherry juice consumers experienced reductions in uric acid levels and inflammatory markers. With regard to cardiovascular disease, reductions were also seen in triglycerides, VLDL, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), a molecule involved in atherosclerotic plaque formation 44. This finding is consistent with the above mentioned CRP lowering effect.
Obesity, systemic inflammation, and hyperlipidemia (elevated blood lipids), are among the components of metabolic syndrome, which precedes the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Animal studies show that intake of tart cherry, due to its rich content of anthocyanin, has beneficial effects on several, if not all, aspects of metabolic syndrome related disorders.
The effect of anthocyanin-rich tart cherries was tested in obese rats with metabolic syndrome 45. For 90 days, rats were fed a high fat diet supplemented with either freeze-dried, whole tart cherry powder or placebo. Results showed that the tart cherry supplementation reduced hyperlipidemia, percentage fat mass, abdominal fat, body weight, and levels and activity of several inflammatory markers 45.
Another study, this time in salt sensitive rats having insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia freeze-dried whole tart cherry was found to reduce fatty liver, fasting blood glucose, hyperlipidemia, blood insulin levels, while also increasing blood antioxidant capacity 46.
Protection against oxidative-stress
In line with the reported increase in total antioxidant status and less oxidative stress seen after tart cherry consumption in marathon runners 28, tart cherry juice also improves the capacity of older adults to resist oxidative damage during acute oxidative stress 3. In 61-75 year old men and women who consumed 240 mL tart cherry juice twice daily for 14 days, an improvement in antioxidant defense was found, as evidenced by an increased capacity to constrain an oxidative challenge and reduced oxidative damage to nucleic acids (which are essential for transmitting and expressing genetic information) 3.
Tart cherry may improve sleep quality
Tart cherries are one of the few rich food sources of the sleep hormone melatonin 47 . Tart cherry juice has beneficial effects on sleep in older adults with insomnia, with effect sizes equal to or exceeding those observed in studies of valerian and in some, but not all, studies of melatonin, the two most studied natural products for insomnia 48. Supplementation with a tart cherry juice concentrate for 7 days in young-middle age adults increases melatonin levels, sleep duration and sleep quality, and thus might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep in all adult age groups 49 .
Bottom Line Recent research has brought tart cherries into the spotlight. In addition to being a natural anti-inflammatory that helps relieve muscle soreness and gout pain, tart cherry also exerts a beneficial effect on insidious chronic inflammation that contributes to the development of aging and several common aging-related diseases. In addition, it boosts oxidative defenses and can help you sleep better. Thus, as you can see, cherries are an excellent food that benefits your muscles, heart and cardiovascular system, fat metabolism, brain, and joints. Add cherries to your natural supplement program and enjoy both their sweet taste and their health benefits.