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Purpose: To investigate the effects of supplementation with tart cherry juice (TCJ) on markers of recovery after intermittent exercise under habitual dietary conditions. Methods: Using a randomized, single-blind, placebo (PLA)-controlled, independent-groups design, 20 team-sport players (8 male and 12 female; age 26  y, height 175.4 [9.6] cm, body mass 70.2 [12.6] kg) were divided equally into 2 groups and consumed either TCJ or PLA twice per day for 8 consecutive days while following their normal dietary habits. Participants completed an adapted version of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST) on day 6 of supplementation. Countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, maximal voluntary isometric contraction, and delayed onset muscle soreness were assessed at baseline and 1, 24, and 48 hours post-LIST. Blood markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase) and inflammation (C-reactive protein) were taken presupplementation, immediately pre-LIST, and 1, 24, and 48 hours post-LIST. Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results: Countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, and maximal voluntary isometric contraction showed significantly faster recovery with TCJ (P < .05) at 24 and 48 hours post-LIST. A significant interaction effect (P < .05) was observed for muscle soreness; however, Bonferroni post hoc analysis could not identify when the significant differences between TCJ and PLA occurred. There were no significant differences throughout recovery between TCJ and PLA for C-reactive protein and creatine kinase (P < .05). Conclusion: The results suggest that TCJ, in addition to habitual diet, can accelerate recovery after intermittent exercise and therefore extend the efficacy of TCJ in accelerating recovery in team sports.
The authors are with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, United Kingdom.