Recovery facilitation with Montmorency cherries following high-intensity, metabolically challenging exercise

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Bell, Phillip ; Walshe, Ian ; Davison, Gareth ; Stevenson, Emma ; Howatson, Glyn (2015)

The impact of Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate (MC) on physiological indices and functional performance was examined following a bout of high-intensity stochastic cycling. Trained cyclists (n = 16) were equally divided into 2 groups (MC or isoenergetic placebo (PLA)) and consumed 30 mL of supplement, twice per day for 8 consecutive days. On the fifth day of supplementation, participants completed a 109-min cycling trial designed to replicate road race demands. Functional performance (maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), cycling efficiency, 6-s peak cycling power) and delayed onset muscle soreness were assessed at baseline, 24, 48, and 72 h post-trial. Blood samples collected at baseline, immediately pre- and post-trial, and at 1, 3, 5, 24, 48, and 72 h post-trial were analysed for indices of inflammation (interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)), oxidative stress (lipid hydroperoxides), and muscle damage (creatine kinase). MVIC (P < 0.05) did not decline in the MC group (vs. PLA) across the 72-h post-trial period and economy (P < 0.05) was improved in the MC group at 24 h. IL-6 (P < 0.001) and hsCRP (P < 0.05) responses to the trial were attenuated with MC (vs. PLA). No other blood markers were significantly different between MC and PLA groups. The results of the study suggest that Montmorency cherry concentrate can be an efficacious functional food for accelerating recovery and reducing exercise-induced inflammation following strenuous cycling exercise.
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