A study of distance runners by Texas A&M University, in College Station, determined that short-term supplementation of dried tart cherry powder improved running times, decreased inflammation and increased muscle metabolism and immunity.
The researchers divided 27 endurance-trained young adult athletes into two groups. Eleven participants were given a daily powered tart cherry supplement for 10 days, and 16 were given a rice flour placebo. All completed a half-marathon near the end of the 10-day trial. The researchers tested fasting blood samples and a quadriceps muscle soreness rating prior to the run, 60 minutes after the run and 24 and 48 hours post-run.
The tart cherry group reported 13 percent faster average running times, as well as significantly lower inflammatory markers. They also reported 34 percent lower quadriceps soreness prior to the run. Tart cherry supplementation also increased immunity and resulted in better muscle metabolism.