Tart Cherries Provide Natural and Tasty Alternative to Supplements for Arthritis Sufferers

Millions Diagnosed with Arthritis Could Benefit from Cherries to Help

Soothe Their Symptoms During National Arthritis Month

May 09, 2007, 01:00 ET from Cherry Marketing Institute

    LANSING, Mich., May 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Arthritis affects about one in
 every five Americans, who often turn to the dietary supplement chondroitin
 to ease their pain. Despite its popularity, new research suggests you may
 be better off adding foods like cherries to your diet than spending money
 on pills.
     Tart cherries (the variety sold as dried, frozen and juice) are one of
 the richest sources of anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory
 properties that are similar to some types of pain relief medications. For
 years, tart cherries have quietly grown a fan base of arthritis suffers who
 routinely consumed the fruit to help soothe their symptoms. Although this
 anecdotal evidence has existed for decades, there now appears to be science
 behind the cherry folklore(1-5).
     However, a new study published in the Annuals of Internal Medicine(6)
 concluded that the benefit of chondroitin supplements is "minimal or
 nonexistent." Researchers evaluated 20 earlier studies in this new
 meta-analysis of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip.
     Cherries May Ease Arthritis Pain
     The same compounds that make cherries red are also responsible for the
 anti-inflammatory benefits. Anthocyanins appear to help reduce inflammation
 and aid in the prevention, management or treatment of arthritis and gout.
 These inflammatory disorders are often associated with elevated levels of
 uric acid in the blood. Recently, scientists at the USDA Human Nutrition
 Research Center at the University of California, Davis, found that healthy
 women (ages 20-40 years) showed a reduction in uric acid levels after
 consuming two servings of cherries(7).
     "The evidence was always anecdotal, but it was repeated so often and by
 so many people that it made us think there was something to it," 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. "That's why we've explored this connection from a scientific
     The Arthritis Foundation recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables,
 whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids(8). One serving of cherries is equal
 to 1/2 cup dried cherries, 8 ounces cherry juice, 2 tablespoons cherry
 juice concentrate, or 1 cup frozen cherries. Tart cherries can easily be
 found year-round, making it easy for arthritis sufferers to benefit from
 this powerful fruit during National Arthritis Month in May and beyond.
     An Antioxidant Advantage
     Cherries are also rich in antioxidants -- substances that seek out and
 destroy free-radicals, harmful molecules that circulate in the body.
 Studies show that cherries are effective in reducing levels of nitric
 oxide, a compound associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid
 arthritis(9, 10).
     "There's a significant body of evidence suggesting that cherries are
 one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat," says Reiter. "Cherries not
 only contain significant levels of antioxidants, but they provide a unique
 combination of antioxidants that are not found in other fruits." Cherries
 are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamins C and E, and
 they provide potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber.
     To learn more about the unique health benefits of cherries and to get a
 copy of "The Cherry Nutrition Report," visit http://www.choosecherries.com.
 You can also find new cherry recipes, menu ideas, and more information on
 where you can buy 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 http://www.choosecherries.com.
     (1)  Blau LW. Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis. Texas Reports on
          Biology and Medicine. 1950; 8:309-311.
     (2)  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.
     (3)  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.
     (4)  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.
     (5)  Kelley DS, Rasooly R, Jacob RA, Kader AA, Mackey BE. Consumption of
          bing sweet cherries lowers circulating concentrations of inflammation
          markers in healthy men and women. Journal of Nutrition. 2006;
     (6)  Reichenbach S, Sterchi R, Scherer M, Trelle S, Burgi E, Burgi U,
          Dieppe PA, Juni P. Meta-analysis: Chondroitin for osteoarthritis of
          the knee or hip. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007; 146: 580-590.
     (7)  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.
     (8)  Arthritis Foundation,
     (9)  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.
     (10) 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.

SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute