The Effects Of Cherry Supplementation On Cardiovascular Function And Muscle Recovery: A Crossover Pilot Study.
Background: Cardiovascular disease remains a significant clinical problem, despite intense efforts to combat its associated risk factors. Intervention and prevention in younger life is the preferred method of action in reducing rates of morbidity and early mortality. Montmorency Tart Cherries (MTC) are rich in bioactive antioxidants and polyphenols compounds and evidence suggests that they have the potential to provide cardioprotection via the means of improved blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Other literature suggests that MTC may also deliver beneficial effects regarding muscle recovery, promoting its use in both elite athletes and the general public. Objective: To investigate the effect of MTC supplementation on cardiovascular health and muscle recovery in a young healthy population. Design: In a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study, eight healthyparticipants aged 18-30 consumed either freeze-dried (ActiveCherryÒ) MTC (870mg) or cornflour (700mg) capsules for seven consecutive days, with a four-day washout period between the alternative treatment. Participant’s body mass index (BMI) was established through assessments of height and weight. Prior to, and succeeding each treatment, measurements of blood pressure (BP) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were taken to evaluate changes in cardiovascular function and arterial stiffness. Changes in muscle recovery were evaluated through increasing workload during a 10-minute cycling test; which aimed to achieve 70-80% of the participant’s age-related maximum heart-rate. Blood lactate concentrations ([La-]b) were obtained within 60 seconds and at 10-minutes post-exercise. Participants were required to complete diet-diaries on four consecutive days to assess the presence of polyphenols in their respective diets. Statistical analysis was evaluated through the use of a paired-sample T-test in Microsoft Excel Software. Results: Analysis of the diet-diaries established a low polyphenol presence in the participants’ diets. Laboratory analysis confirmed a higher antioxidant (0.413mmol FSE/capsule) and phenolic (72.46mmol GAE/capsule) content in the intervention compared with the control (0.012mmol FSE/capsule and 0.47mmol GAE/capsule, respectively). Changes in systolic and diastolic BP, PWV and [La-]b were found to not be statistically significant (>0.05) for the cherry intervention. PWV was found to be significant (p=0.0248) for the control treatment, however not significant for systolic and diastolic BP or [La-]b. Conclusion: Within the capabilities of the study, research failed to indicate that MTC supplementation would potentially improve cardiovascular health or muscle recovery, despite a high antioxidant and phenolic content in the capsules and low presence of polyphenols in the diet. Further work in this area may be of value in the long-term prevention of cardiovascular disease and as a sports performance-enhancer. Keywords: Montmorency, Antioxidant, Phenolic, Arterial Stiffness, Muscle Recovery