Promising New Research on Tart Cherry and Endurance

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | July 5, 2016

New and exciting research might give us even more reasons to pucker up for tart cherry juice! On top of its high concentration of antioxidants and its sleep-inducing properties, studies now show that tart cherry juice and tart cherry powder can be used as nutritional supplements to support the muscle recovery process in endurance athletes.

While most studies are conducted on tart cherry juice itself, this study – published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition – focused on the powdered supplement. Many endurance athletes will be pleased to learn that tart cherry powder may be effective, as well as convenient to use following training since so many of us train and race away from home.

The study observed 27 trained endurance runners and triathletes who supplemented their diets with powdered tart cherry before and after a stressful 21.1-kilometer endurance run or a half-marathon. The other participants were given a placebo. Afterward, muscle damage, inflammation, oxidative stress, and muscle soreness were measured and compared. The results showed that athletes in the supplementation group had favorable results across all markers – faster running times, less oxidative damage, less inflammation, and a lower rate of perceived muscle soreness.

While research is still ongoing, powdered tart cherry supplements show a lot of promise in aiding the muscle recovery process. Before any conclusions can be made, however, studies need to be conducted on different athletes and in different situations that require endurance. We also have to be aware that the supplement industry remains unregulated, so it’s important to know which supplement companies are trustworthy. Researchers, coaches, sports nutritionists, and physiologists will certainly be on the lookout for any advancement in studies so that athletes can start improving their performance effectively and safely.


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Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/ Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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