Cherry Juice May Ease Muscle Pain

Exercise-induced injuries may respond to antioxidants in the juice, researchers say

TUESDAY, June 20, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking cherry juice after exercise may reduce muscle strain-linked pain, according to the results of a small industry-funded study.

Researchers at the University of Vermont in Burlington studied 14 volunteers who exercised for a period of seven days. Participants drank either a cherry/apple juice combination drink or a drink with no cherry juice for three days before they exercised, and for another four days after they exercised.

Exercises consisted of arm muscles that were flexed and tensed 20 times in only one arm. After two weeks, the process was repeated, with participants who previously drank cherry juice -- which contained the juice from about 50-60 cherries -- switching to the other drink mixture and vice-versa. The arm muscle exercised was also switched.

The participants were asked to identify the pain and soreness in their muscles on scale of one to 10, and the researchers also analyzed muscle strength and range of motion.

Participants who drank the other juice mixture experienced a 22 percent loss in muscle strength, while those who drank the cherry juice mixture only lost 4 percent of their muscle strength. Their reported pain rating was also much lower, at 2.4 percent compared to 3.2 percent for those who drank the other juice. After 96 hours, the cherry-juice drinkers even gained some muscle strength.

Results of the study, which was funded by Cherrypharm Inc., of West Hartford, Conn., were published Wednesday in the online edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more about muscle soreness.

SOURCES: British Journal of Sports Medicine, news release, June 21, 2006
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