New Study Suggests Cherries May Offer Natural Pain Relief for Millions Suffering From Arthritis

Research Indicates This Red 'Super Fruit' May Help Reduce Inflammation and


May 05, 2008, 01:00 ET from Cherry Marketing Institute

    LANSING, Mich., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Arthritis is being called "the
 coming epidemic." Forty-six million -- or one in five American adults, have
 doctor-diagnosed arthritis -- and experts project that number to rise by
 nearly 40 percent by 2030(1). May is National Arthritis Month, a time to
 generate awareness of this growing condition and ways to manage associated
 symptoms. In fact, new research suggests that tart cherries -- one of
 today's hottest "Super Fruits" -- may help naturally reduce inflammation
 and ease arthritis pain.
     While arthritis sufferers have sworn for years that cherry juice
 reduces pain, the anecdotal claims are now supported by scientific
 evidence. A new study by University of Michigan researchers revealed a
 cherry-enriched diet reduced inflammation markers in animals by up to 50
 percent(2). Scientists believe it's the anthocyanins -- also responsible
 for cherries' vibrant red color -- that are responsible for this
 anti-inflammatory benefit. Other studies indicate that anthocyanins may be
 beneficial for a range of inflammatory-related conditions, including
     Studies also suggest antioxidant-rich foods, like cherries, may help
 reduce levels of nitric oxide, a compound associated with osteoarthritis
 and rheumatoid arthritis(6-8). Osteoarthritis currently affects 27 million
 Americans, with onset typically after 45 years of age(1).
     "Cherries have a unique antioxidant profile that works similar to some
 types of pain medication," said Russel Reiter, Ph.D., nutrition researcher
 at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who has studied the
 benefits of tart cherries for many years. "This is an important link in
 examining the role diet can play in reducing inflammation and preventing
 and managing related diseases and conditions."
     Consumers Prefer to Eat Red for Good Health
     As America ages, so too will the prevalence of arthritis. Those
 afflicted are already looking to foods and beverages with health-promoting
 properties to optimize their health. In fact, a recent survey revealed most
 respondents would prefer to eat or drink foods with health promoting
 properties over medical treatment or dietary supplements. Reducing joint
 pain and inflammation were among the priority conditions(9). Also in the
 survey, 81% of consumers said they'd add more cherries to their daily diet
 if they knew the health benefits were virtually equal to dietary
     "Arthritis pain can be very debilitating, limiting activity and overall
 quality of life," said Leslie Bonci, Director of Sports Nutrition in the
 Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. "As a
 registered dietitian, I like to recommend food as the first solution to
 good health. Cherries are great because they have these powerful
 anti-inflammatory properties and are easy and convenient to eat, from
 topping cereal or creating a smoothie."
     Cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms. One
 serving of cherries is equal to 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1 cup frozen
 cherries, 8 ounces cherry juice or 2 tablespoons cherry juice concentrate.
     To learn more about the unique health benefits of cherries and to
 download a copy of "The Cherry Nutrition Report," visit The site also offers new cherry recipes,
 menu ideas, and more information on sourcing cherry products.
     The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North
 American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI's mission is to increase
 the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product
 development and research. For more information on the science supporting
 the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu
 ideas, visit
(1) National Arthritis Foundation. (2) Tart Cherry-Enriched Diets Reduce Abdominal Obesity and Inflammation in Zucker Fatty Rats. Experimental Biology 2008 702.7, Seymour EM, Urcuyo-Llanes D, Lewis SK, Kirakosyan A, Kaufman PB, Bennink MR, Bolling SF. Presented in minisymposium 702.7, Dietary Bioactive Compounds III: Chronic Disease Risk Reduction. (3) Blau LW. Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis. Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine. 1950;8:309-311. (4) Jacob RA, Spinozzi GM, Simon VA, Kelly DS, Prior RL, Hess-Pierce B, Kader AA. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women, Journal of Nutrition 2003;133:1862-1829. (5) Tall JM, Seeram, NP, Zhao C, Nair MG, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat. Behavioural Brain Research. 2004; 153:181-188. (6) Van Acker SA, Tromp MN, Haenen GR, van der Vijgh WJ, Bast A. Flavonoids as scavengers of nitric oxide radical. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 1995;214:755-759. (7) Bezerra MM, Brain SD, Greenacre S, Jeronimo SM, de Melo LB, Keeble J, da Rocha FA.. Reactive nitrogen species scavenging, rather than nitric oxide inhibition, protects from articular cartilage damage in rat zymosan-induced arthritis. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2004;141:172-182. (8) Remans PH, van Oosterhout M, Smeets TJ, Sanders M, Frederiks WH, Reedquist KA, Tak PP, Breedveld FC, van Laar JM. Intracellular free radical production in synovial T lymphocytes from patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2005;52:2003-2009. (9) Survey of 1,517 adults age 45 and older, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation's Caravan Services, November 2007, on behalf of the Cherry Marketing Institute.

SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute