Bell, P. G., Walshe, I. H., & Howatson, G. (2014). Montmorency cherry concentrate attenuates inflammatory response and muscle function decline following high-intensity stochastic cycling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(5), Supplement abstract number 1450.

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This study examined the efficacy of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (high antioxidative and anti-inflammatory potential) as a recovery aid, following an exercise stress (cycling) with a high metabolic challenge and very little mechanical stress. Trained male cyclists (N = 16) completed baseline performance tests of isometric quadriceps strength (knee flexion using strain gauge and a 6-second maximal-power cycling sprint. Ss were equally and randomly assigned to either a Montmorency cherry concentrate or Placebo group and completed eight days of supplementation (2 x 30 mL per day) whilst adhering to dietary and exercise restrictions. On day 5, Ss completed a high-intensity stochastic cycling task lasting 109 minutes and returned at the same time on days 6-8 to repeat baseline performance tests. Venous blood samples were taken pre-supplementation, pre-exercise, post-exercise, 1, 3, 5, 24, 48, and 72 hours after exercise for analysis of inflammatory markers (IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha, and hsCRP).

Isometric quadriceps strength decline was lessened in the Montmorency cherry group compared to the placebo group at 48 and 72 hours after exercise. Main effects for group were identified for the inflammatory markers IL-6 and hsCRP with lower responses in the Montmorency cherry group. No significant differences were found for other performance or inflammatory variables.

Implication. In trained cyclists, Montmorency cherry supplementation prior to, and following a metabolic biased cycling challenge facilitates later-stage recovery as assessed through improved restoration of isometric quadriceps strength and reduced inflammatory response.

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