Inflammation and oxidative stress are important factors in the development of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. The findings of our previous study suggest that 12 weeks consumption of tart cherry juice lowers the levels of systolic blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in older adults. The present study investigated the effects of tart cherry juice on blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. In this randomized-controlled clinical trial, a total of 37 men and women between the ages of 65⁻80 were randomly assigned to consume 480 mL of tart cherry juice or control drink daily for 12 weeks. Several blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress were assessed at baseline and after 12 weeks intervention. After the 12 weeks intervention, tart cherry juice significantly increased the plasma levels of DNA repair activity of 8-oxoguanine glycosylase (p < 0.0001) and lowered (p = 0.03) the mean c-reactive protein (CRP) level compared to the control group. There was a significant group effect observed for plasma CRP (p = 0.03) and malondialdehyde (MDA) (p = 0.03), and a borderline significant group effect observed for plasma oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL) (p = 0.07). Within group analysis showed that the plasma levels of CRP, MDA, and OxLDL decreased numerically by 25%, 3%, and 11%, respectively after 12 weeks of tart cherry juice consumption compared with corresponding baseline values. The present study suggests that the ability of tart cherry juice to reduce systolic BP and LDL cholesterol, in part, may be due to its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Larger and longer follow-up studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Keywords: cardiovascular risk factors; dietary intervention; inflammation; oxidative stress; polyphenols; tart cherry.