Montmorency Tart cherries (Prunus cerasus L.) modulate vascular function acutely, in the absence of improvement in cognitive performance

Br J Nutr. 2016 Dec;116(11):1935-1944. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516004177. Epub 2016 Dec 19.


Cerebral blood volume and metabolism of oxygen decline as part of human ageing, and this has been previously shown to be related to cognitive decline. There is some evidence to suggest that polyphenol-rich foods can play an important role in delaying the onset or halting the progression of age-related health disorders such as CVD and Alzheimer's disease and to improve cognitive function. In the present study, an acute, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, cross-over, randomised Latin-square design study with a washout period of at least 14 d was conducted on twenty-seven, middle-aged (defined as 45-60 years) volunteers. Participants received either a 60 ml dose of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (MC), which contained 68·0 (sd 0·26) mg cyanidin-3-glucoside/l, 160·75 (sd 0·55) mean gallic acid equivalent/l and 0·59 (sd 0·02) mean Trolox equivalent/l, respectively, or a placebo. Cerebrovascular responses, cognitive performance and blood pressure were assessed at baseline and 1, 2, 3 and 5 h following consumption. There were significant differences in concentrations of total Hb and oxygenated Hb during the task period 1 h after MC consumption (P≤0·05). Furthermore, MC consumption significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (P≤0·05) over a period of 3 h, with peak reductions of 6±2 mmHg at 1 h after MC consumption relative to the placebo. Cognitive function and mood were not affected. These results show that a single dose of MC concentrate can modulate certain variables of vascular function; however, this does not translate to improvements in cognition or mood.

Keywords: BP blood pressure; CBF cerebral blood flow; DV digit vigilance; MC Montmorency tart cherry; NIRS near-IR spectroscopy; PLA placebo; RVIP rapid visual information processing; SBP systolic blood pressure; WBB wild blueberry; deoxy-Hb deoxygenated Hb; oxy-Hb oxygenated Hb; Blood pressure; Cerebral blood flow; Cognitive performance; Montmorency tart cherries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / blood
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • England
  • Female
  • Foods, Specialized*
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Hemoglobins / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Fatigue / blood
  • Mental Fatigue / diagnostic imaging
  • Mental Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Mental Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / blood
  • Mood Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Mood Disorders / physiopathology
  • Mood Disorders / prevention & control
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prehypertension / blood
  • Prehypertension / physiopathology
  • Prehypertension / prevention & control*
  • Prunus avium*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial
  • Vascular Diseases / blood
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vascular Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Hemoglobins