This study investigated Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (MC) supplementation on markers of recovery following prolonged, intermittent sprint activity. Sixteen semi-professional, male soccer players, who had dietary restrictions imposed for the duration of the study, were divided into two equal groups and consumed either MC or placebo (PLA) supplementation for eight consecutive days (30 mL twice per day). On day 5, participants completed an adapted version of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LISTADAPT). Maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), 20 m Sprint, counter movement jump (CMJ), agility and muscle soreness (DOMS) were assessed at baseline, and 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise. Measures of inflammation (IL-1-β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, hsCRP), muscle damage (CK) and oxidative stress (LOOH) were analysed at baseline and 1, 3, 5, 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise. Performance indices (MVIC, CMJ and agility) recovered faster and muscle soreness (DOMS) ratings were lower in the MC group (p < 0.05). Additionally, the acute inflammatory response (IL-6) was attenuated in the MC group. There were no effects for LOOH and CK. These findings suggest MC is efficacious in accelerating recovery following prolonged, repeat sprint activity, such as soccer and rugby, and lends further evidence that polyphenol-rich foods like MC are effective in accelerating recovery following various types of strenuous exercise.
Keywords: functional foods; muscle damage; prunus cerasus; recovery; strenuous exercise.