TrueFN intern Sarah Jones is a Registered Dietician student always looking for ways for clients to get an edge. Sometimes that leads to the fringes of the supplement world. Ever heard of Tart Cherry Juice? Sarah is on the case to tell you what you need to know, what it’s good for and what it’s not.
Tart cherry juice (TCJ) is a sports supplement that is high in antioxidants that promote muscle recovery. Athletes are recommended TCJ because the antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which makes their recovery time faster. A faster recovery time means they can return to peak performance and compete in tip top shape and who would want their athlete to take longer to recover? Literally nobody.
Strength athletes and endurance athletes can benefit from TCJ, as research has shown significant effects for both types of athletes. However, it is important to remember emphasis with TCJ is improving recovery times. During developmental training blocks, inflammation and oxidative stress drive adaptations and drinking TCJ during those periods may have negative effects on development. Because of this, the regimen for TCJ is only recommended for use during competition/peaking seasons!
TCJ comes in a few commercially available forms: regular juice, juice concentrate or pills but your best bet is to drink the regular juice for palatability. Drinking 8-12oz once a day for 4 days prior to the event and 2 days after the event seem to show the best results in research studies.1 You can also substitute the regular juice for 1oz juice concentrate if fluid intake is being monitored. If your competition season is long or over the course of many weeks, consuming less juice daily (4oz-6oz) could still provide the recovery benefits at a lower dosage for that extended competition season.
Auther’s Note: TCJ is recognized by the CPSDA for its recovery properties, however there is no general guidelines at this time for it’s use as it is still being researched in athletic populations. Depending on your age, health conditions and other factors, your intake of TCJ can vary!
1. Vitale, K. C., Hueglin, S., & Broad, E. (2017). Tart Cherry Juice in Athletes. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 16(4), 230–239. https://doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0000000000000385