Tart cherries are also known as dwarf cherries or Montmorency cherries. This variety of cherries is not as sweet as the cherries we commonly know, and they are most often eaten dried. What is significant about tart cherries is that they are filled with health benefits.
The health benefits of tart cherry extract are just now coming to light. As more people are turning to natural sources of health supplements, tart cherry extract has begun to take its place with the increasing list of natural sources of good health.
The more we know about tart cherries, the more we discover the benefits of tart cherry extract. It turns out tart cherries are far more than simple dried fruits we find in granola mix. Tart cherry extract is loaded with health benefits.
What are the benefits of tart cherry extract? How do we include tart cherry extract into our health regimen? And how much tart cherry extract should we be taking. This guide will provide you with the basic information you need regarding tart cherry extract.
What is Tart Cherry Extract?
Tart cherry juices are made from the fruit of the Prunus cerasus tree which is native to southwest Asia and Europe. Tart cherries are also known as dwarf or Montmorency cherries. Tart cherries have long been linked to an increasing number of health benefits.
Tart cherries have a completely different flavor profile than the cherries most of us are used to, and they are used primarily when they have been dried or in baking. However, many cultures around the world have used tart cherries as a health supplement.
Tart cherries are now juiced and extracted so that the extract can be put into capsules to be used as a health supplement.
Tart Cherry Extract nutrition facts
Tart cherry juice is rich in various nutrients. An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving contains 119 calories and the following:
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 62% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 40% of the RDI
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI
- Potassium: 12% of the RDI
- Copper: 12% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 7% of the RDI
Tart cherry juice also contains smaller amounts of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, omega-3, and omega-6 fats, in addition to antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds.
Compared to sweet cherry varieties, tart cherries contain 20 times more vitamin A, and their antioxidant levels are up to five times higher.
One easy way to tell tart cherries from sweet varieties is by their color. Sweet cherries tend to be darker in color, whereas tart cherries retain their bright red color after being harvested.
Tart Cherry Extract health benefits
In addition to the nutritional value of tart cherry extract, it also has some important health benefits. Some of these benefits are particularly valuable to people who are committed to fitness and exercise.
Increases strength and reduces muscle soreness
Physically active people will be interested in the effects of tart cherry extract on muscles, strength, and soreness. Several studies show tart cherry extract is beneficial to people who engage in serious workouts.
Researchers looked at runners who drank 24 ounces of tart cherry juice, and they measured their progress against a control group that took a placebo. They found that runners who took tart cherry juice experienced three times less pain after the same level of exertion as those who took the placebo.
A similar study measured the effects of tart cherry extract on runners who competed in a marathon. Researchers found that runners who took tart cherry extract showed significantly less pain and muscle damage after competing in a marathon.
Further research shows similar effects after taking an extract that has been rendered in a tart cherry powder. Research shows that tart cherry extract can increase muscle strength. One study showed that taking tart cherry extract supplements resulted in a 4 percent increase in muscle strength over a control group that did not take the same supplement.
Overall, findings from research on tart cherry extract show that it can help prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue that comes with high-intensity training.
Can help you sleep
One benefit of tart cherry extract for just about all of us is that it seems to help people sleep better. Tart cherry extract is increasingly used to treat insomnia. Tart cherry juice and tart cherry extract are rich in melatonin which is the hormone responsible for helping you sleep.
Tart cherry extract also contains high levels of tryptophan and anthocyanins. These two compounds work with melatonin to induce restful sleep. Research on the effects of tart cherry extract and its effects on sleep shows that people not only sleep better, but they also tend to sleep longer and have better quality sleep when taking the tart cherry extract.
In one study, participants who suffered from insomnia were given tart cherry extract. This group was measured against a control group who were not given tart cherry extract. Those who took tart cherry extract slept an average of 85 minutes longer than those who had no supplement for sleep.
This research has led doctors to suggest that tart cherry extract is more effective as a sleep-aid than melatonin or even valerian in helping people who suffer from insomnia.
Can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and gout
There has long been the claim that tart cherry extract can help reduce the painful symptoms of arthritis. Now the research is supporting these claims. Tart cherry extract does reduce the painful inflammation of arthritis and it can also reduce the painful symptoms of gout.
Tart cherry extract has been shown to significantly reduce the marker of inflammation in women with osteoarthritis. This is the most common form of arthritis. People who took tart cherry extract over six weeks experienced less pain and stiffness than control groups who did not take tart cherry extract supplements.
The anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry extract appear to be just as effective in combating the symptoms of gout which leads to swelling and intense pain. Gout is caused when there is too much uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) can build up in joints, fluids, and tissues within the body.
Tart cherry juice and tart cherry extract have been shown to reduce levels of uric acid in the body. Studies on the effects of tart cherry extract on gout show that people who take tart cherry extract can experience a reduction in painful symptoms by as much as 50 percent.
Promotes brain health
One of the causes of degenerative brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be oxidative stress. Tart cherries contain high quantities of antioxidants, and this may have tremendous benefits for people suffering from degenerative brain disorders. Tart cherry extract may protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
Studies have shown that tart cherries can significantly increase antioxidant defenses in older adults. One study demonstrated that older adults with mild or moderate dementia who consumed tart cherry extract showed increased verbal fluency and better short-term and long-term memory over control groups who did not take tart cherry extract.
Boosts the immune system
We know from the nutritional boost you get from tart cherry extract that it is good for the body generally. But the specific makeup of tart cherry extract gives you a serious boost to your immune system.
Much of the benefit to the immune system comes from the antioxidant content in tart cherry extract. These antioxidants help prevent infections.
Researchers who examined athletes who are prone to upper respiratory infections, such as runners, found that those who took tart cherry extract experienced significantly fewer upper respiratory infections. In some studies, the difference was profound. Runners who took tart cherry extract experienced 50 percent fewer upper respiratory infections, and doctors believe this is due to the high concentrations of antioxidants in tart cherry extract.
Improves heart health
Additional studies and clinical trials have shown that tart cherry juice may also help support heart health by promoting vascular function, supporting healthy blood pressure, and promoting the health of blood vessel linings. This is a benefit that researchers believe may be linked to phenolic acids.
Anthocyanins from various sources have been the focus of many studies related to vascular function and health because of their antioxidative and vasodilatory properties. Researchers say anthocyanins may improve vascular health significantly, but that more studies should be conducted that are dose-specific and that focus on specific populations with varied health concerns to assist with developing dosage recommendations and to explore effects on vascular regions more thoroughly.
Other potential health benefits of tart cherry extract that are still being studied include:
Tart Cherry Extract dosage
Tart Cherry Dosage for Joint Health
As little as 30 mL - 60 mL (1 - 2 ounces) may have a positive impact on uric acid levels.6 Several studies have used 80 mg of anthocyanin for joint health, which is equivalent to between 16 - 24 ounces of tart cherry juice blend, 1 ounce of liquid tart cherry juice concentrate, or 400 mg of concentrated tart cherry in tablets or capsules.
Tart Cherry Dosage for Sleep
In a double-blind trial involving healthy individuals, sleep-seeking participants drank between 1 - 8 ounces of tart cherry juice up to twice daily to support sleep quality.
Tart Cherry Capsules Dosage
Capsules generally contain 500 mg of tart cherry in each capsule. You can take up to two capsules twice per day.
Side effects of Tart Cherry Extract
When consumed in normal food amounts, tart cherries are safe for most adults. But just as eating too many cherries might upset your stomach, consuming large amounts of tart cherry juice may cause some digestive discomfort, which experts attribute to its high sorbitol content. Also, keep an eye on your overall calorie intake from tart cherry juice because the calories can add up and cause some weight gain side effects if you aren’t careful, or you can opt for tart cherry supplements instead.
Tart Cherry Extract FAQs
What is tart cherry extract?
Tart cherry extract is made from the fruit of the Prunus cerasus tree which is native to southwest Asia and Europe. Tart cherries are also known as dwarf or Montmorency cherries.
What are the benefits of tart cherry extract?
It can be used to fight muscle soreness, muscle fatigue, and it can be used to help build muscle. Tart cherry extract is known for a variety of health benefits including as a sleep aid, for fighting neurodegenerative disorders, and to fight infections. Tart cherry extract is also good for promoting heart health.
How much tart cherry extract should I take?
You can safely and effectively take two 500 mg capsules of tart cherry extract per day.
Is there any side effect of tart cherry extract?
There are a few side effects, but too much tart cherry extract can cause stomach upset.
There are increasingly more beneficial supplements that are derived from natural sources. In recent years, researchers have started to look at traditional remedies and health supplements that come from the natural world.
What scientists are finding is that natural sources for health supplements are loaded with benefits. Tart cherry extract is one of these supplements. Derived from nothing more complicated than simple tart cherries, tart cherry extract provides serious benefits to athletes and too many people who suffer from everything from insomnia to neurodegenerative disorders.
Tart cherry extract is easy to take, and it is becoming increasingly available in health food stores and even in supermarkets. This simple supplement of tart cherry extract can provide many of the benefits of pharmaceuticals without any of the dangerous side effects.
For athletes and for just about anyone, tart cherry extract will easily take its place alongside your regular array of natural health supplements and vitamins.