A recent study out of London shed a new, and very encouraging, light on Montmorency cherries and sports recovery. This study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, is the first study that provides encouraging evidence of the potential role of Montmorency cherries in reducing the development of upper respiratory tract symptoms post-Marathon (2015;12:22). Often these symptoms are caused by exercise-induced hyperventilation trauma, and/or other infectious and non-infectious factors, as prolonged exercise, such as marathon running, has been associated with an increase in respiratory mucosal inflammation.
In the study, 20 recreational marathon runners consumed either cherry juice or placebo before and after a marathon race. Markers of mucosal immunity secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), salivary cortisol, inflammation (CRP) and self-reported incidence and severity of upper respiratory tract symptoms were measured before and following the race.
All variables except secretory IgA and IgG concentrations in saliva showed a significant time effect. Serum CRP showed a significant interaction and treatment effect. The CRP increase at 24 hours and 48 hours post-marathon was lower in the cherry juice group compared to the placebo group. Mucosal immunity and salivary cortisol showed no interaction effect or treatment effect. The incidence and severity of upper respiratory tract symptoms was significantly greater than baseline at 24 hours and 48 hours following the race in the placebo group and was also greater than the cherry juice group. No upper respiratory tract symptoms were reported in the cherry juice group whereas 50 percent of the runners in the placebo group reported upper respiratory tract symptoms at 24 and 48 hours post-marathon.
This study opens a lot of doors for sports nutrition product manufacturersfrom sports-nutrition beverages to bars and even cereals with tart cherry fruit inclusions eaten as a post-marathon snack.