Tart cherry powder may improve performance and reduce inflammation

In this study, 27 trained endurance runners or triathletes, aged 17 to 25, took 480 mg of powdered tart cherries per day or a placebo.

Participants began taking the tart cherry seven days before a foot race, on race day, and up to two days afterward. The foot race was a half-marathon, which everyone completed in under two hours. Doctors measured signs of muscle breakdown, and levels of inflammation, while runners rated their muscle soreness before and several times after the run. 

Those in the tart cherry group ran the half-marathon 13 percent faster than the placebo group, and had fewer signs of muscle breakdown afterward. Signs of inflammation after the run were 47 percent lower for those taking tart cherry, and there was a tendency for runners in the tart cherry group to report less leg-muscle soreness up to 24 hours after the run.

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