Tart Cherry Juice

Last Updated: January 22, 2024

Tart cherry juice is best known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It seems to improve exercise recovery and possibly sleep quality. More evidence is needed to determine whether it is helpful for gout management.

Tart Cherry Juice is most often used for

What is tart cherry juice?

Cherries are a member of the stone fruit family and can meaningfully contribute to dietary intakes of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.[4] Stone fruit are fruits that consist of a thin outer layer, edible flesh, and a hard stone that encloses a seed. Cherries are grouped into two major types: sweet (Prunus avium L.) and tart (Prunus cerasus L.) cherries.[5] The latter are processed to produce tart cherry juice and tart cherry juice concentrate. The scientific interest in tart cherry juice is primarily due to its rich content of polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.[6]

What are tart cherry juice’s main benefits?

Supplementation with tart cherry products has been found to improve recovery from both prolonged aerobic and resistance exercise, including small reductions in perceived muscle soreness and some markers of inflammation, as well as a more rapid return to baseline levels of muscular strength and power.[3] Tart cherry products may also provide a small benefit for endurance exercise performance.[2]

Evidence from a few studies suggests that tart cherry juice has the potential to improve some sleep quality parameters, both in older adults with insomnia[7] and younger adults without sleep problems.[8][9]

What are tart cherry juice’s main drawbacks?

Randomized controlled trials typically do not report adverse effects associated with consumption of tart cherry juice. Case reports of acute kidney injury from daily consumption of cherry juice concentrate, including black cherry concentrate[10] and an unspecified cherry juice concentrate,[11] have been reported in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Whether similar issues in people with CKD could carry over to tart cherry juice intake is unclear, but plausible.

The mechanism by which the polyphenols in cherry juice concentrate reduce inflammation (i.e., by inhibiting cyclooxygenase enzymes) may also reduce kidney function in people with CKD.[10][11] Because tart cherry juice concentrate is rich in many of the same polyphenols as other cherry juice concentrates, it could also potentially be harmful for people with CKD.

Another potential drawback of tart cherry juice is its carbohydrate content. It contains polyols,[12] a specific type of carbohydrate that can be harmful to people with irritable bowel syndrome.[13] A cup of tart cherry juice contains about 130 kcal, so it can theoretically contribute to weight gain, though studies have reported that supplementation with tart cherry juice does not affect BMI or fat mass.[14]

High doses of antioxidants can also impair exercise-induced adaptations,[15] so long-term supplementation with tart cherry juice could be detrimental for athletes, particularly in the off-season, when the goal is to maximize exercise-induced adaptations. However, direct evidence is needed to determine whether the commonly consumed dose of tart cherry juice is large enough to have this effect.

How does tart cherry juice work?

The benefits of tart cherry juice are thought to primarily come from its abundant polyphenol content, most notably anthocyanins, which possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.[16]

Tart cherry juice may improve sleep by increasing melatonin levels,[9] as tart cherries are a relatively rich source of melatonin,[17] and they seem to increase the availability of tryptophan,[7] which is used to synthesize melatonin in the body.

Tart cherry juice may enhance endurance exercise performance by elevating muscle antioxidant capacity, thus minimizing the production of oxidants during exercise, which can depress force production and contribute to fatigue.[18] Additionally, as a source of low-glycemic-index carbohydrate, tart cherry juice might support performance by promoting fat oxidation and allowing sustained carbohydrate availability during exercise,[19] but it’s unclear whether tart cherry juice is superior to other sources of low-glycemic-index carbohydrate. Another way tart cherry juice might benefit endurance exercise performance is by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the working muscles.[2]

What are other names for Tart Cherry Juice?
Note that Tart Cherry Juice is also known as:
  • Montmorency Cherry Juice
Tart Cherry Juice should not be confused with:
  • Cherry Juice
Dosage information

To enhance exercise recovery or endurance exercise performance, tart cherry juice should be taken daily for 3–7 days before the exercise session of interest and 1–2 hours before exercise on the day of the event.[1][2] To enhance exercise recovery, tart cherry juice should also be consumed 2–4 days following the event.[3] There has yet to be a study that assessed the effects of supplementing with tart cherry juice for longer than a few days before and after an exercise session, but it’s hypothesized that to maximize the effect of tart cherry juice on exercise recovery, athletes should supplement throughout the entire competitive season.[1] The most common dosage for tart cherry juice concentrate is 30 mL, consumed twice per day (60 mL total). The most common dosages for tart cherry juice are 237 mL or 355 mL, consumed twice per day (474–710 mL total).

To improve sleep, the most common dosage is either 30 mL of tart cherry juice concentrate or 237 mL of tart cherry juice, consumed twice per day, with one dose in the morning and the other 1–2 hours before bed.

Supplements Demystified: Get Our Unbiased, Evidence-Based Guide

Examine Database: Tart Cherry Juice
What works and what doesn't?

Unlock the full potential of Examine

Get started

Don't miss out on the latest research

Frequently asked questions

Other FAQs

  1. ^McHugh MP"Precovery" versus recovery: Understanding the role of cherry juice in exercise recovery.Scand J Med Sci Sports.(2022-Jun)
  2. ^Gao R, Chilibeck PDEffect of Tart Cherry Concentrate on Endurance Exercise Performance: A Meta-analysis.J Am Coll Nutr.(2020)
  3. ^Jessica Amie Hill, Karen Mary Keane, Rebecca Quinlan, Glyn HowatsonTart Cherry Supplementation and Recovery From Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisInt J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.(2021 Jan 13)
  4. ^Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Laugero KDA Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries.Nutrients.(2018-Mar-17)
  5. ^Ferretti G, Bacchetti T, Belleggia A, Neri DCherry antioxidants: from farm to table.Molecules.(2010-Oct-12)
  6. ^Letitia M McCune, Chieri Kubota, Nicole R Stendell-Hollis, Cynthia A ThomsonCherries and health: a reviewCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr.(2011 Jan)
  7. ^Losso JN, Finley JW, Karki N, Liu AG, Prudente A, Tipton R, Yu Y, Greenway FLPilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms.Am J Ther.(2018)
  8. ^Chung J, Choi M, Lee KEffects of Short-Term Intake of Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice on Sleep Quality after Intermittent Exercise in Elite Female Field Hockey Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial.Int J Environ Res Public Health.(2022-Aug-18)
  9. ^Glyn Howatson, Phillip G Bell, Jamie Tallent, Benita Middleton, Malachy P McHugh, Jason EllisEffect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep qualityEur J Nutr.(2012 Dec)
  10. ^Matout M, Halme AS, Wiseman JA case of acute kidney injury secondary to black cherry concentrate in a patient with chronic kidney disease secondary to type 2 diabetes mellitus.CEN Case Rep.(2019-Aug)
  11. ^Luciano RLAcute kidney injury from cherry concentrate in a patient with CKD.Am J Kidney Dis.(2014-Mar)
  12. ^Sokół-Łętowska A, Kucharska AZ, Hodun G, Gołba MChemical Composition of 21 Cultivars of Sour Cherry () Fruit Cultivated in Poland.Molecules.(2020-Oct-08)
  13. ^Lenhart A, Chey WDA Systematic Review of the Effects of Polyols on Gastrointestinal Health and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.Adv Nutr.(2017-Jul)
  14. ^Moosavian SP, Maharat M, Chambari M, Moradi F, Rahimlou MEffects of tart cherry juice consumption on cardio-metabolic risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials.Complement Ther Med.(2022-Dec)
  15. ^Merry TL, Ristow MDo antioxidant supplements interfere with skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise training?J Physiol.(2016 Sep 15)
  16. ^Bell PG, McHugh MP, Stevenson E, Howatson GThe role of cherries in exercise and healthScand J Med Sci Sports.(2014 Jun)
  17. ^Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJDetection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus).J Agric Food Chem.(2001-Oct)
  18. ^Reid MBRedox interventions to increase exercise performance.J Physiol.(2016-Sep-15)
  19. ^O'Reilly J, Wong SH, Chen YGlycaemic index, glycaemic load and exercise performance.Sports Med.(2010-Jan-01)
  20. ^Haidari F, Mohammad Shahi M, Keshavarz SA, Rashidi MRInhibitory Effects of Tart Cherry (Prunus cerasus) Juice on Xanthine Oxidoreductase Activity and its Hypouricemic and Antioxidant Effects on Rats.Malays J Nutr.(2009-Mar)
  21. ^Keith R Martin, Katie M ColesConsumption of 100% Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Serum Urate in Overweight and Obese AdultsCurr Dev Nutr.(2019 Feb 25)
  22. ^Hillman AR, Uhranowsky KAcute Ingestion of Montmorency Tart Cherry Reduces Serum Uric Acid but Has no Impact on High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein or Oxidative Capacity.Plant Foods Hum Nutr.(2021-Mar)
  23. ^Bell et alMontmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinosideJournal of Functional Foods.(2014-09-28)
  24. ^Lisa K Stamp, Peter Chapman, Christopher Frampton, Stephen B Duffull, Jill Drake, Yuqing Zhang, Tuhina NeogiLack of effect of tart cherry concentrate dose on serum urate in people with goutRheumatology (Oxford).(2020 Sep 1)
  25. ^Schlesinger et alPilot Studies of Cherry Juice Concentrate for Gout Flare ProphylaxisJournal of Arthritis.(2012-02-22)
  26. ^Tinna Traustadóttir, Sean S Davies, Anthoney A Stock, Yali Su, Christopher B Heward, L Jackson Roberts 2nd, S Mitchell HarmanTart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and womenJ Nutr.(2009 Oct)
  27. ^Howatson G, McHugh MP, Hill JA, Brouner J, Jewell AP, van Someren KA, Shave RE, Howatson SAInfluence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon runningScand J Med Sci Sports.(2010 Dec)
  28. ^Schumacher HR, Pullman-Mooar S, Gupta SR, Dinnella JE, Kim R, McHugh MPRandomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.Osteoarthritis Cartilage.(2013-Aug)
  29. ^Vanisree Mulabagal, Gregory A Lang, David L DeWitt, Sanjeev S Dalavoy, Muraleedharan G NairAnthocyanin content, lipid peroxidation and cyclooxygenase enzyme inhibitory activities of sweet and sour cherriesJ Agric Food Chem.(2009 Feb 25)
Examine Database References
  1. Uric Acid - Keith R Martin, Katie M ColesConsumption of 100% Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Serum Urate in Overweight and Obese AdultsCurr Dev Nutr.(2019 Feb 25)
  2. Gout Symptoms - Lisa K Stamp, Peter Chapman, Christopher Frampton, Stephen B Duffull, Jill Drake, Yuqing Zhang, Tuhina NeogiLack of effect of tart cherry concentrate dose on serum urate in people with goutRheumatology (Oxford).(2020 Sep 1)
  3. Uric Acid - Angela R Hillman, Bryna C R ChrismasThirty Days of Montmorency Tart Cherry Supplementation Has No Effect on Gut Microbiome Composition, Inflammation, or Glycemic Control in Healthy AdultsFront Nutr.(2021 Sep 16)
  4. Nitric Oxide - Keane KM, Bailey SJ, Vanhatalo A, Jones AM, Howatson GEffects of montmorency tart cherry (L. Prunus Cerasus) consumption on nitric oxide biomarkers and exercise performance.Scand J Med Sci Sports.(2018-Jul)