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Tart Cherry Juice for Exercise Performance and Recovery

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03313388
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : October 18, 2017
Last Update Posted : June 28, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Phil Chilibeck, University of Saskatchewan

Brief Summary:
This study evaluates the effects of tart cherry juice consumption on endurance exercise performance, fat metabolism during exercise, blood pressure, and recovery from exercise as assessed by muscle pain, muscle strength and electrical properties of muscle. Comparisons will be made to Gatorade consumption. Participants include those who are moderately active and have experience with cycling.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Muscle Damage Dietary Supplement: Drink Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Tart cherries are rich in bioactive components (i.e. flavonoids) that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Inflammation and lipid peroxidation causes damage of skeletal muscle membranes during intense exercise. The damage of muscle increases the amount of time for muscle to recover from intense exercise, and can cause muscle strength to be reduced for days. When tart cherries in a concentrated form (i.e. as juice or powder) are consumed in the days leading up to intense exercise, there is a protective effect against inflammation, and lipid peroxidation . This theoretically prevents damage to the lipid component of muscle fibre membranes and helps to preserve muscle function - when muscle is damaged by intense exercise (i.e. either repetitive aerobic activity or high-force muscle contraction), consumption of cherry juice enhances the rate of muscle strength recovery following exercise compared to when a placebo (i.e. non-cherry) beverage is consumed . Muscle damage may be protected by cherry juice consumption; however, all studies evaluating the protective effect of cherries have assessed muscle damage by measuring muscle proteins in the blood. This rather indirect measure of muscle damage is highly variable and not always an accurate assessment of muscle damage; this may be why some studies indicate a reduction in markers of muscle damage with cherry juice consumption while others do not.

A more direct assessment of muscle damage can be obtained by applying electrical stimulation at different frequencies to a muscle before and after intense exercise and assessing the reduction in force output in response to low-frequency and high-frequency stimulation. After intense exercise, the force output at low frequencies of stimulation is often reduced, while the force output at high frequencies is maintained; a phenomenon termed "low frequency fatigue". When muscle is stimulated to contract (either voluntarily by the nervous system or involuntarily through electrical stimulation) calcium is released inside muscle. This calcium release leads to muscle contraction. When muscle undergoes intense exercise, there is damage to muscle membranes, including membranes inside muscle that are responsible for calcium release. This causes a lower amount of calcium to be released with each muscle contraction. Normally, if high frequencies of electrical stimulation are applied to muscle, a very large amount of calcium is released inside muscle - an amount which is "more than enough" to cause a high amount of muscle contraction and high force output. If muscle fibre membranes responsible for release of calcium are damaged, a lower amount of calcium is released, but because "more than enough" calcium is usually released with high frequency stimulation, the lower amount of calcium released with muscle damage is still enough to cause high force of muscle contraction. The force response to low frequencies of stimulation; however, is dramatically reduced when muscle is damaged - usually only a small amount of calcium is released when low frequencies of stimulation are delivered to muscle. Following muscle damage, the smaller amount of calcium released causes lower force production at low stimulation frequency. Low force production at low stimulation frequencies, with a relatively maintained force production at high stimulation frequencies therefore indicates that muscle damage has occurred. This lower muscle force capability at low frequencies of stimulation has dramatic effects on endurance performance because typical endurance performance relies on repeated low-force muscle contractions, as opposed to the few high-force contractions that might be required in other sports (i.e. short sprinting events or field events such as shot put).

The study we are proposing will use this measurement (i.e. ratio of low frequency force to high frequency force output) as a more direct measure of muscle damage. We predict that if cherry juice is consumed in the days leading up to a bout of muscle-damaging endurance exercise, muscle damage will be lower (as indicated by a faster recovery of low-frequency fatigue following the bout of exercise) than when a comparison-drink (i.e. Gatorade) is consumed.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 13 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Other
Official Title: The Effect of Tart Cherry Juice on Fat Metabolism, Exercise Performance, and Recovery
Actual Study Start Date : October 1, 2017
Actual Primary Completion Date : March 30, 2018
Actual Study Completion Date : April 30, 2018

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Tart Cherry Juice
290 mL per day of Tart Cherry juice for 7 days
Dietary Supplement: Drink
Beverage to be consumed

Active Comparator: Gatorade
290 mL per day of Gatorade for 7 days
Dietary Supplement: Drink
Beverage to be consumed

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Time time performance [ Time Frame: Day 5 of beverage consumption ]
    Time to complete 10 km of cycling

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Fat oxidation [ Time Frame: Day 5 of beverage consumption ]
    Fat oxidation determined from gas analysis

  2. Carbohydrate oxidation [ Time Frame: Day 5 of beverage consumption ]
    Carbohydrate oxidation determined from gas analysis

  3. Blood pressure [ Time Frame: Day 5 of beverage consumption ]
    Blood pressure assessed by continuous blood pressure monitor

  4. Muscle pain [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to before, and immediately, 24 hours, and 48 hours after exercise ]
    Muscle pain determined by a visual analog scale (participant marks a scale from 0 to 100 mm. A score of 0 mm is "no pain". A score of 100 mm is maximal pain).

  5. Quadriceps strength [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to before, and immediately, 24 hours, and 48 hours after exercise ]
    Knee extensor strength determined by isometric contraction

  6. Low frequency fatigue [ Time Frame: Change from baseline to before, immediately, 24 hours, and 48 hours after exercise ]
    Measured by force production at low and high stimulation frequencies as an index of muscle damage

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • experienced cyclist (i.e. bicycle exercise at a vigorous intensity on a regular basis)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Allergies to cherries

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03313388

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Canada, Saskatchewan
College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, S7N 5B2
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Saskatchewan
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Principal Investigator: Philip Chilibeck, PhD University of Saskatchewan
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Responsible Party: Phil Chilibeck, Professor, University of Saskatchewan Identifier: NCT03313388    
Other Study ID Numbers: 16-273
First Posted: October 18, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: June 28, 2018
Last Verified: June 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No