Background: The purpose of this study was to examine whether short-term ingestion of a powdered tart cherry supplement prior to and following intense resistance-exercise attenuates muscle soreness and recovery strength loss, while reducing markers of muscle damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
Methods: Twenty-three healthy, resistance-trained men (20.9 ± 2.6 yr, 14.2 ± 5.4% body fat, 63.9 ± 8.6 kg FFM) were matched based on relative maximal back squat strength, age, body weight, and fat free mass. Subjects were randomly assigned to ingest, in a double blind manner, capsules containing a placebo (P, n = 12) or powdered tart cherries [CherryPURE(®)] (TC, n = 11). Participants supplemented one time daily (480 mg/d) for 10-d including day of exercise up to 48-h post-exercise. Subjects performed ten sets of ten repetitions at 70% of a 1-RM back squat exercise. Fasting blood samples, isokinetic MVCs, and quadriceps muscle soreness ratings were taken pre-lift, 60-min, 24-h, and 48-h post-lift and analyzed by MANOVA with repeated measures.
Results: Muscle soreness perception in the vastus medialis (¼) (p = 0.10) and the vastus lateralis (¼) (p = 0.024) was lower in TC over time compared to P. Compared to pre-lift, TC vastus medialis (¼) soreness was significantly attenuated up to 48-h post-lift with vastus lateralis (¼) soreness significantly lower at 24-h post-lift compared to P. TC changes in serum creatinine (p = 0.03, delta p = 0.024) and total protein (p = 0.018, delta p = 0.006) were lower over time and smaller from pre-lift levels over time compared to P Significant TC group reductions from pre-lift levels were found for AST and creatinine 48-h post-lift, bilirubin and ALT 60-min and 48-h post-lift. No significant supplementation effects were observed for serum inflammatory or anti-inflammatory markers. None of the free radical production, lipid peroxidation, or antioxidant capacity markers (NT, TBARS, TAS, SOD) demonstrated significant changes with supplementation. Changes in TC whole blood lymphocyte counts (p = 0.013) from pre-lift were greater compared to P, but TC lymphocyte counts returned to pre-lift values quicker than P.
Conclusion: Short-term supplementation of Montmorency powdered tart cherries surrounding a single bout of resistance exercise, appears to be an effective dietary supplement to attenuate muscle soreness, strength decrement during recovery, and markers of muscle catabolism in resistance trained individuals.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Antioxidants; Muscle damage; Recovery; Resistance exercise; Tart cherry.