What is Tart Cherry Extract?
Tart cherry extract is a dietary supplement made from Prunus cerasus, commonly known as tart cherries or sour cherries. It is made by processing fresh tart cherry juice with a stabilizer into a liquid concentrate, powder, or capsule form.
Uses for Tart Cherry Extract
Tart cherries are naturally packed with all kinds of compounds that our bodies use to function at their best. Studies have shown the effectiveness of tart cherries in several areas.
Reduce Muscle Pain
Runners who take tart cherry extract or powder are seen to have less muscle soreness after racing, and they recover faster, with less of a chance of injury.
Arthritis and Gout
Early studies show mixed results that tart cherry can reduce uric acid in the blood. It’s possible that taking tart cherry extract daily can prevent flare ups, and improve quality of life by boosting flexibility and reducing pain.
Chemicals called anthocyanins and bioflavonoids that help with arthritis and gout may reduce inflammation from other diseases as well, which can lower your risk of chronic disease. In a study conducted by Barbara Shukitt-Hale et al., it was found that Montmorency tart cherry powder, which is high in polyphenols, helped effectively reduce inflammatory and oxidative stress impacts in the body.
The phytochemicals that give tart cherries their bright red color are also powerful antioxidants. Tart cherries are also rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which also act as antioxidants. By preventing oxidation and the production of free radicals, tart cherries can preserve and improve brain function, and possibly even slow the effects of aging.
Any health professional will tell you that consistent sleep is the core of a healthy life. Tart cherry contains melatonin, which helps regulate our body’s circadian rhythm (Glyn Howatson et al., 2011). Taking tart cherry extract in the morning and at night has been shown to increase sleep by up to 90 minutes, and help with restful, undisturbed sleep patterns!
Tart Cherry Extract vs Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
Tart cherry is available in a liquid concentrate, but many people find this unpalatable. Some varieties may have been sweetened to make them drinkable, but those should be avoided due to their high sugar content.
Tart cherry extract in powder or capsule form will give you all the benefits without the bad taste.
Tart cherry is considered safe for most people and does not have any known drug interactions. Studies have not been done on its safety for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so avoid supplements if that is your situation and simply enjoy cherries in normal food amounts.