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Using powdered tart cherries can help to reduce the perception of pain after exercise.

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition indicates that acute supplementation with powdered tart cherries over the seven days leading up to, during and two days after intense resistance exercise helps to minimise post-training perceptions of pain in the most biomechanically loaded regions of the quadriceps muscle group associated with the back squat compared to a placebo.

Consumption of tart cherry juice has been widely reported to effectively reduce inflammation, muscle damage and muscle soreness following bouts of exercise. So the purpose of this study was to determine if consumption of a powdered form of tart cherries derived from tart cherry skins prior to and following intense resistance exercise promotes similar positive results as seen with tart cherry juice consumption.

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For the study, 23 resistance trained men were randomly assigned to ingest, in a double blind manner, capsules containing a placebo or powdered tart cherries. Participants ingested the supplements one time daily for 10 days including the day of exercise up to 48 hours post-exercise.

They performed 10 sets of 10 repetitions at 70% of 1RM barbell back squat with 3 minutes recovery between sets. The men then rated perceptions to a standardised application of pressure via an algometer on the dominant thigh at three designated locations using a 10-point visual scale to assess muscle soreness and tenderness over the course of the testing period.

The study concluded: “Overall, these findings suggest that supplementation with a powdered tart cherry product surrounding an intense resistance event reduces pain perception in addition to hepatic and catabolic stress in the post-exercise period.”

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