Bottoms up: Tart Cherry Juice is a Potent Natural Treatment for Chronic Pain and Insomnia

BOTTOMS UP: TART CHERRY JUICE IS A POTENT NATURAL TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC PAIN & INSOMNIA

Interested in natural treatments for fibromyalgia or chronic pain?Learn about how tart cherries, one of the top antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, can reduce pain and alleviate insomnia.

Many people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions are interested in effective natural treatments to relieve their pain. I am always on the lookout for promising supplements to try. Pharmaceutical drugs can absolutely provide pain relief and I don’t think there should be any stigma about taking prescription medications. I take pain killers and they improve my quality of life. However, drugs are often only partially effective and they can cause unwanted side effects. To me, it only makes sense to integrate helpful natural treatments with mainstream medical approaches. Supplements can reduce pain and often have fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals.

One promising natural treatment for relieving pain is tart cherry juice. Tart cherries are incredibly rich in in antioxidants – greater even than dark chocolate or red wine – and tart cherries can significantly reduce inflammation. Antioxidants are important for overall health, and specifically benefit people with chronic conditions associated with high rates of oxidation (damage caused to cells by oxidants). Antioxidants neutralize oxidants (also called free radicals),  preventing tissue damage and providing a host of other benefits including reduced inflammation.

Research shows that tart cherry juice is particularly effective for reducing muscle pain caused by overexertion. Tart cherry juice works to “protect muscles, lower pain, and accelerate muscle repair” (Life Extension). Not surprisingly, post-exercise pain is caused in part by oxidation and inflammation, which is where tart cherries come in. Studies on the impact of tart cherry juice on post-exercise recovery found that it accelerated muscle repair, reduced inflammation, and reduced pain compared to control groups (Life Extension). Tart cherry juice might therefore be helpful for people with illnesses that cause muscle pain like fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. I have found that it help to drink it on days that I go for longer walks or do my physical therapy strengthening exercise, to reduce the soreness and ward off a flare.

The anti-inflammatory effect of tart cherry juice has potentially widespread benefits for many chronic conditions. I get pain relief from my endometriosis symptoms and fibromyalgia symptoms using pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, but I often worry about taking too much, because of the damage non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can cause to your stomach lining. There is dispute about the extent of inflammation in fibromyalgia, but one study found inflammation of the fascia (the connective tissue sheath that covers muscles).  “In 2012, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial found that…among those patients consuming tart cherry juice, there was a statistically significant decrease in inflammation, indicated by reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)” (Life Extension). Tart cherries also inhibit the same inflammatory compounds, called COX enzymes, that NSAIDs do: “Tart cherries contain high levels of flavonoids and anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory properties that also work through the inhibition of COX enzymes” (Runners Connect).

Amazingly, that’s not all tart cherries can do for us. Insomnia is a significant problem for people with fibromyalgia. Tart cherries contain melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that drinking tart cherry juice in the morning and before bed helps improve sleep time and overall time in bed.  Maybe tart cherry juice will help with your insomnia too!

So how much should you drink? Studies of effective tart cherry juice action had participants drink 8-12 oz (236-354 mL) of juice twice daily (remember one cup is 8 oz or 236 mL).  I’m going to head out and get me some more tart cherry juice.  Bottoms up!

Reference:

‘Report – Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Tart Cherry’ Life Extension Magazine June 2013

‘Can Tart Cherry Juice Replace NSAIDs to Relieve Pain and Reduce Inflammation for Runners?’ Runners Connect 

fIG. 1 FROM lIFEeXTENSION.cOM
Guard Against Degenerative Disease and Inflammation with Tart Cherries

Guard Against Degenerative Disease and Inflammation with Tart Cherries

  • Physical exercise can induce muscle damage that generates inflammation and with it, burning, stiffness, and pain. The effect worsens with age.
  • Standard treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil®) involves potentially deadly adverse effects, such as stroke.
  • Evidence shows that the weave of complex anthocyanins and phenols in tart cherries provides superior protection against muscle injury—by safely inhibiting the pain and inflammatory effects.
  • The potent components in tart cherries have been demonstrated to deliver high-level protection against inflammatory and degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
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11 thoughts on “Bottoms up: Tart Cherry Juice is a Potent Natural Treatment for Chronic Pain and Insomnia

    • Katarina says:

      Good question! Most of the studies had participants drink either one or two 8 oz. glasses per day – morning and evening. You can order it in canada from Well.ca or Eden Organics and probably find it in the health food store. Another commenter posted a link to Swanson vitamins tart cherry juice. Apparently concentrate can be more cost effective (one tablespoon concentrate to a cup of water). I’m still waiting for mine! I’ll let you know how it goes.

  1. teeks55 says:

    Now THIS I agree with. 🙂 My husband and I have been using tart cherry juice concentrate (make sure you get the CONCENTRATE, not just regular cherry juice) and it really does seem to help him. He has had chronic knee pain for a long time and when he takes the cherry concentrate mixed with some water each night, his knee pain has disappeared. I am taking it too but I have not noticed pain relief, but I HAVE noticed that my sleep is improved. Sometimes I forget to take it. So thank you for the reminder. I am going to go take some right now. We get ours at Swanson Vitamins website. It’s reasonably priced and good quality stuff. Shipping is only $5 for 3 bottles.
    https://www.swansonvitamins.com/dynamic-health-organic-certified-tart-cherry-juice-concentrate-16-fl-oz-liquid

    • Katarina says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with it! And some advice on where to get it! I was having a bit of trouble figuring that part out because my local health food store doesn’t have it.

  2. teeks55 says:

    Katarina….I have looked around online and in our local health food store here, and Swanson Vitamins tart cherry juice concentrate (the link I posted above) is the most reasonably priced and also the most potent that I’ve found. You can get 3 bottles at a time and shipping is only $4.99. Yes you only need 2 TBSP mixed with any beverage of your choice for one serving. They recommend two servings a day. I usually take it with a small glass of water with a bit of sweetener or sugar (it’s WAY tart!!!). I am going to start using it 3 times a day just to see how it works on my inflammation. I have been told for the past 30 years that I am borderline lupus and RA because of the high inflammation in my blood work. Just not enough to meet the criteria for a diagnosis. So they just send me away with no treatment for the inflam., and I can’t take high enough doses of NSAIDs because they raise my blood pressure. (I’m on 4 blood pressure meds and still my pressure spikes) So I want to see how this works if I take it three times a day. Just a little experiment. LOL Why not, right? Wish me luck! And let me know how it works for you if you try it. 🙂

  3. Hello Fibro (@HelloFibro) says:

    Thank you for sharing this info! This is great to know. I am always looking for natural alternatives for pain relief. In addition to having fibromyalgia, I have sleep apnea as well, so the tart cherry juice’s properties that help with insomnia are a plus for me! I think I am going to head to my natural health store today to pick up some and give it try.

    • Katarina says:

      Thanks for stopping by and reading! I hope the tart cherry juice helps you out with some of your symptoms! It’s great to find natural alternatives that really work.

    • Katarina says:

      I hope it works for you! I think it has a lot of potential to help in different ways. The worst thing that could happen is that it helps out with general health because of all the super antioxidants and phytonutrients it contains. Also it’s an easy way to have another serving of fruits and veggies!

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