Objective: Tart cherry concentrate has been shown to improve muscle function, and reduce muscle damage, oxidative stress/inflammation, and muscle soreness in athletes; however, evidence for acute endurance performance benefits is scarce. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the effect of tart cherry juice on endurance exercise performance with a meta-analysis.Method: Data sources included Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Eligibility criteria were randomized controlled trials with endurance exercise performance tests. Participants were healthy individuals. Interventions included tart cherry supplementation and placebo ingested before, and/or on the day of exercise. Ten studies were included (totaling 127 males and 20 females). Standardized mean differences (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated for each study and pooled effects were assessed.Results: Tart cherry concentrate in juice or powdered form, ingested for 7 days to 1.5 hours before exercise performance testing significantly improved endurance exercise performance (SMD: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.07 to 0.64; p = 0.01; I2 = 0%) upon pooling of the ten studies.Conclusions: Tart cherry concentrate has a significant benefit for endurance exercise performance. Key teaching pointsTart cherry concentrate has a significant benefit for endurance exercise performance.Tart cherry concentrate may enhance endurance exercise performance via its low glycemic index, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative capacity, and blood flow enhancing effects.
Keywords: Tart cherry concentrate; blood flow; endurance exercise; glycemic index; inflammation; oxidative stress.