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Review: CherryActive
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Tuesday 7th July 2009


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We first heard of CherryActive around the time of the TCR Show (www.tcrshow.com) earlier this year. CherryActive claims several performance benefits for athletes, and is based around the powerful antioxidant properties of 100% Montmorency cherries:

"Powerful natural compounds present in CherryActive products help to inhibit the body's inflammatory response to exercise leading to less muscle soreness following training and competition and shorter recovery times.

The unrivalled antioxidant power of CherryActive also helps to 'mop-up' damaging free radicals produced by intense training and competition, pollution, chemicals in food & water, and other sources which can lead to cell damage, muscle breakdown and fatigue."

To take a look at the claims and put the CherryActive Concentrate product to the test, we called upon Melissa Arkinstall, an active triathlete and Accredited Sports Dietitian to cut through the science for us, and report back on her findings.


Cherry good indeed?!!

Palatability

First things first, once again I’m using the old dietitian’s cliché which states "the nutritional value of food (and drink) not consumed is ‘nil’"…so would I be prepared to down a glass of CherryActive every morning for the test month? No problem! When I first dispensed the concentrate it looked like a syrup and I expected it to taste quite sweet, however, once diluted, the juice is fresh tasting and slightly sour but not unpleasantly so. For those who aren’t so keen on the taste however, there are some innovative recipes on the CherryActive website, which offer some alternative ways to get your berries! (www.cherryactive.co.uk)

Cherry Active

Ease of preparation / use

The company produces a couple of easy to use gadgets including a pump dispenser that deposits 10ml servings into your glass (recommended 30ml serve diluted to 250ml with water daily for an adult), which has a marker to top up with water to the correct dilution – totally idiot proof!

Nutritional Value

A 30ml serve of cherry juice diluted with water provides 110 calories and 26g of carbohydrate, approximately equal to a glass of fruit juice. Although whole cherries have a low glycaemic index (ie their sugars are absorbed slowly), juicing the fruit will speed up the rate at which blood sugar rises. For avid calorie counters or diabetics, a capsule version of the extract is available. The juice is fat free, low in sodium and rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants.

Product

CherryActive
Concentrate

CherryActive
Capsules

Serving Size

30ml = 40g

1 capsule

Calories

110

2

Carbohydrates

26g

>0.5

Fat (g)

0.0

0.0

Dietary Fibre (g)

0.1

negligible

Natural Sugars (g)

21

> 0.5g

Sodium (mg)

trace

negligible

Potassium (mg)

298.0

negligible

Cost

A month’s supply of Cherry Active costs £25.40 (incl. VAT), which works out at around 84-85p a day; less than a fruit smoothie!

The research

The literature supplied with the CherryActive Juice was a report commissioned by the Cherry Marketing Institute; which rang warning bells in my head about potential bias. However, I ordered a couple of examples of the original papers that this report was based on and they had indeed been quoted accurately, which put my fears to rest. The array of claims linked to cherry juice is long and impressive; however for the audience that I anticipate to be reading this article I will stick to those that may affect immediate athletic performance, i.e. weight management and muscle recovery…though ‘brain health’ was another which many may consider critical?!

Muscle Recovery

A randomised, placebo-controlled cross-over study assessed the effect of consuming cherry juice on exercise-induced muscle damage in 14 male college students. Results showed that strength loss and pain following eccentric exercise was less in the group who consumed 12fl oz of juice for 8 days compared to the control. A promising early study, however, as the study is on a very small scale, more research is required before we can say that the juice would unequivocally provide these benefits.

Weight Management

I would exercise extreme caution in drawing any conclusions that cherry juice can aid weight management from a single study based on the physiological reactions of mice fed a high fat diet!

My own experience!

I took 20-30ml of the concentrate daily for four weeks to see if I could ascertain any benefits. During these four weeks I raced a half marathon and a 20 mile road race. Weekly training totalled between 17-22 hours. Of course I was not running a scientifically controlled study so I can’t make any credible claims, I also go to town on my post-race recovery with rehydration, refuelling, cold baths and compression gear so it’s impossible to identify a benefit purely from taking the Cherrry Juice. All I can say is that during this month my recovery was excellent (e.g. I was running a strong pace over a hilly, 10 mile course, two days after the 20 miler) and when I experienced the first signs of a head cold, it cleared up in three days and didn’t affect my ability to train at all …..so it certainly didn’t do me any harm!!


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