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Benefits of Tart Cherry Supplements vs Tart Cherry Juice

Benefits of Tart Cherry Supplements vs Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are delicious to enjoy on their own. They make a healthy snack or dessert, loaded with antioxidants. And tart cherry extract provides concentrated amounts of these nutrients, which support a wide range of conditions. 

Among their many benefits, tart cherry extract can lower blood pressure, support blood glucose balance, and enhance brain health. Athletes appreciate the benefits of tart cherry supplements to support joint health and reduce pain without the calories, sugar and inconvenience. [1]

Many of those tart cherry benefits come from polyphenols which provide antioxidant protection against oxidative stress and chronic inflammation that contribute to almost every disease. [2]

Among the over 8,000 phenolic compounds in plants include flavonoids, such as anthocyanidins, which provide cellular protection against oxidative stress and inflammation. [3]

Tart cherries are especially rich in these powerful anthocyanins. These and other compounds in tart cherries provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for joint health, exercise performance and recovery, and so much more. [4] 

Why Supplement with Tart Cherry? The Many Benefits of Tart Cherry Extract

Tart cherry supplements have long been a staple among athletes. One meta-analysis concluded that tart cherry extract can reduce muscle soreness and improve muscular strength and muscular power. [5] Because you recover better, you perform better. 

Joint pain is common among athletes, but everyone is susceptible to joint aches and inflammation as they grow older. Using tart cherry extract regularly can help prevent, manage, and support recovery of soft tissue injury and pain. Left unchecked, joint problems can lead to osteoarthritis. [6] 

The benefits of tart cherry extract, however, go far beyond joint health. As a supplement, tart cherry supplements can help support: 

  1. Healthy blood pressure. One study found that tart cherry juice can lower systolic blood pressure. [7]
  2. Healthy cholesterol levels. That same study showed that tart cherry extract can lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). (7)
  3. Brain health. Animal studies show that tart cherries improve cognitive behavior. Tart cherry can also reduce inflammatory and oxidative stress signaling in microglial cells, the cells located throughout the brain and spinal cord. [8]
  4. Weight loss. In one animal study, tart cherries reduced fat mass, abdominal fat, and several inflammatory factors that may contribute to diabetes and heart disease. [9]
  5. Improved satiety. The anthocyanins in tart cherries may improve levels of leptin.[10] This satiety hormone helps regulate appetite. When leptin is out of balance (called leptin resistance), the body loses its ability to regulate satiety, which may increase the risk of obesity. [11]
  6. Heart health. One study found that 12 weeks of consuming tart cherry may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among men and women in America. [12]
  7. Pain management. In one animal study, anthocyanins extracted from tart cherries helped manage inflammatory pain. [13]

To get these and other benefits, you’ll want to take a tart cherry supplement. To get the many, many benefits of tart cherry extract, you want to choose the right supplement.

Tart Cherry Juice Carries a Big Sugar Load

Many studies that focus on the benefits of tart cherry extract use tart cherry juice. Manufacturers usually make juice by pressing tart cherries.

While tart cherry juice may taste good, it carries one big drawback: A lot of sugar. One cup of tart cherry juice contains 159 calories and almost 37 grams of carbohydrates. Of those carbohydrates, nearly 33 grams come from sugar. [14]

Many studies use several cups of tart cherry juice daily. One study found that tart cherry juice provides symptom relief for patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis. However, researchers used two cups of tart cherry juice daily to get those benefits. [15] That’s over 11 teaspoons of sugar! 

Yes, whole fruit contains the same amount of sugar as juice. When you eat that fruit whole, though, the dietary fiber helps buffer the fruit’s sugar load. Juicing strips fruit of dietary fiber. As a result, you’re receiving a big sugar load without the fiber to buffer it. 

When you consume sugar – the sugar in processed foods but also from whole foods like fruit – the body breaks it down into two simple sugars: Glucose and fructose. While most cells can use glucose, only your liver can metabolize fructose.

Most fruit is higher in fructose, but the fiber helps buffer that fructose. Without fiber, the fructose in juice can overwhelm the liver, contributing to problems like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).[16] A high intake of fructose-containing sugars is also associated with body weight gain, contributing to obesity. [17]

Of the sugar in one cup of tart cherry juice, about 12.5 grams come from fructose.[18] What’s more, fruit juices don’t create the satiety that you receive when you eat whole food because the fiber is stripped away. [19] That makes juices easier to consume (without paying attention to calories and sugar) and more difficult to regulate the amount of sugar you’re receiving.

The sugar in tart cherry juice may even negate its benefits. Studies show that sugar, especially from sugary drinks, may trigger or exacerbate chronic inflammation. [20] 

One comprehensive review found that sugar-sweetened beverages – and especially fructose – increased the risk of gout and hyperuricemia (an excess of uric acid in the blood). In other words, tart cherry juice may be counterintuitive. [21]

NordicCherry® Tart Cherry Extract: More of the Nutrients, None of the Sugar

Fortunately, you can get the many, many benefits of tart cherry extract without added sugar. Tart cherry extract comes in supplement form, which may be more convenient than tart cherry juice.

One study compared using tart cherry juice versus powder. Researchers found that a single powdered capsule may be more effective for lowering inflammation and oxidative stress levels. [22]

Not all tart cherry juices are standardized, either. Standardization means that every product is created consistently. Every bottle - if standardized - should contain the exact same amount of ingredients and nutrients.

One study estimated that a cup of tart cherry provides about 15.6 mg of anthocyanins and 993.6 mg of total phenolics.[23] This amount may vary, however, based on the manufacturer and how the juice is processed. 

As a powder, tart cherry exact can more effectively be standardized. A powdered form of tart cherry extract is also more convenient on-the-go. 

Even with tart cherry supplements, the quality can dramatically vary. Many factors impact the nutrient value of cherries, including ripening and storage and extraction process. [24]

That’s why choosing the right tart cherry supplement is critical to receiving all the benefits of tart cherry extract. We weren’t satisfied with any of the products on the market, so we went looking for the best in tart cherry extract.

NordicCherry®: A Superior Form of Tart Cherry Extract

Not all tart cherry supplements are created the same. We use NordicCherry®, the world’s most bioactive full spectrum whole fruit tart cherry extract. NordicCherry® is created through a proprietary environmentally clean and responsible water extraction technology process, free of harsh toxic chemical solvents.

Unlike other products, MatrixShield® technology further enhances and preserves the delicate polyphenol bioactive compounds that can be destroyed in conventionally processed tart cherry extract. 

NordicCherry® provides the many benefits of tart cherry extract in a low daily dose. In fact, our product contains over double the amount of relative anthocyanin content compared to our closest competitor.

NordicCherry® tart cherry extract is made with whole fruit Prunus cerasus Stevnsbaer, sour cherries grown in Denmark. Our powder is non-GMO, dairy-free, soy-free, and non-allergen. All of our ingredients are traceable, from their origin to the completed powder. 

Our tart cherry formula is nearly flavorless. Each convenient daily dose provides 0.559 grams of tart cherry compounds, including anthocyanins and flavonoids – that is slightly above the 500 mg that researchers recommend daily to provide all of tart cherry’s many benefits.


[1] Alba C MA, Daya M, Franck C. Tart Cherries and health: Current knowledge and need for a better understanding of the fate of phytochemicals in the human gastrointestinal tract. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(4):626-638. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1384918. Epub 2017 Oct 30. PMID: 28956621.

[2] Hussain T, Tan B, Yin Y, Blachier F, Tossou MC, Rahu N. Oxidative Stress and Inflammation: What Polyphenols Can Do for Us? Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:7432797. doi: 10.1155/2016/7432797. Epub 2016 Sep 22. PMID: 27738491; PMCID: PMC5055983.

[3] Hussain T, Tan B, Yin Y, Blachier F, Tossou MC, Rahu N. Oxidative Stress and Inflammation: What Polyphenols Can Do for Us? Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:7432797. doi: 10.1155/2016/7432797. Epub 2016 Sep 22. PMID: 27738491; PMCID: PMC5055983.

[4] Sabou VR, O'Leary MF, Liu Y, Brown PN, Murch S, Bowtell JL. Review of Analytical Methods and Reporting of the Polyphenol Content of Tart Cherry Supplements in Human Supplementation Studies Investigating Health and Exercise Performance Effects: Recommendations for Good Practice. Front Nutr. 2021 Mar 26;8:652094. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.652094. PMID: 33842524; PMCID: PMC8032894.

[5] Hill JA, Keane KM, Quinlan R, Howatson G. Tart Cherry Supplementation and Recovery From Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2021 Jan 13;31(2):154-167. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0145. PMID: 33440334.

[6] Kuehl KS. Cherry juice targets antioxidant potential and pain relief. Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:86-93. doi: 10.1159/000341965. Epub 2012 Oct 15. PMID: 23075558.

[7] Alba C MA, Daya M, Franck C. Tart Cherries and health: Current knowledge and need for a better understanding of the fate of phytochemicals in the human gastrointestinal tract. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(4):626-638.

[8] Shukitt-Hale B, Kelly ME, Bielinski DF, Fisher DR. Tart Cherry Extracts Reduce Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Signaling in Microglial Cells. Antioxidants (Basel). 2016 Sep 22;5(4):33. doi: 10.3390/antiox5040033. PMID: 27669317; PMCID: PMC5187531.

[9] Seymour EM, Lewis SK, Urcuyo-Llanes DE, Tanone II, Kirakosyan A, Kaufman PB, Bolling SF. Regular tart cherry intake alters abdominal adiposity, adipose gene transcription, and inflammation in obesity-prone rats fed a high fat diet. J Med Food. 2009 Oct;12(5):935-42. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2008.0270. PMID: 19857054.

[10] Nemes A, Homoki JR, Kiss R, Hegedűs C, Kovács D, Peitl B, Gál F, Stündl L, Szilvássy Z, Remenyik J. Effect of Anthocyanin-Rich Tart Cherry Extract on Inflammatory Mediators and Adipokines Involved in Type 2 Diabetes in a High Fat Diet Induced Obesity Mouse Model. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 21;11(9):1966.

[11] Dornbush S, Aeddula NR. Physiology, Leptin. [Updated 2021 Apr 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

[12] Chai SC, Davis K, Zhang Z, Zha L, Kirschner KF. Effects of Tart Cherry Juice on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Older Adults. Nutrients. 2019 Jan 22;11(2):228. doi: 10.3390/nu11020228. PMID: 30678193; PMCID: PMC6413159.

[13] Tall JM, Seeram NP, Zhao C, Nair MG, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat. Behav Brain Res. 2004 Aug 12;153(1):181-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2003.11.011. PMID: 15219719.


[15] Schumacher HR, Pullman-Mooar S, Gupta SR, Dinnella JE, Kim R, McHugh MP. Randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Aug;21(8):1035-41. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.05.009. Epub 2013 May 31. PMID: 23727631.

[16] Jensen T, Abdelmalek MF, Sullivan S, Nadeau KJ, Green M, Roncal C, Nakagawa T, Kuwabara M, Sato Y, Kang DH, Tolan DR, Sanchez-Lozada LG, Rosen HR, Lanaspa MA, Diehl AM, Johnson RJ. Fructose and sugar: A major mediator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 2018 May;68(5):1063-1075. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2018.01.019. Epub 2018 Feb 2. PMID: 29408694; PMCID: PMC5893377.

[17] Campos VC, Tappy L. Physiological handling of dietary fructose-containing sugars: implications for health. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Mar;40 Suppl 1:S6-11. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.8. PMID: 27001645.

[18] Schor J. Health Effects of Tart Cherries. Exploring cherries' beneficial phytochemicals. 2011 Aug; 3 (8). Retrieved on May 30, 2021.

[19] de Ruyter JC, Olthof MR, Seidell JC, Katan MB. A trial of sugar-free or sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight in children. N Engl J Med. 2012 Oct 11;367(15):1397-406. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203034. Epub 2012 Sep 21. PMID: 22998340.

[20] Della Corte KW, Perrar I, Penczynski KJ, Schwingshackl L, Herder C, Buyken AE. Effect of Dietary Sugar Intake on Biomarkers of Subclinical Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies. Nutrients. 2018 May 12;10(5):606. doi: 10.3390/nu10050606. PMID: 29757229; PMCID: PMC5986486.

[21] Ebrahimpour-Koujan S, Saneei P, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and dietary fructose in relation to risk of gout and hyperuricemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(1):1-10. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1503155. Epub 2018 Oct 2. PMID: 30277800.

[22] Hillman AR, Uhranowsky K. Acute Ingestion of Montmorency Tart Cherry Reduces Serum Uric Acid but Has no Impact on High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein or Oxidative Capacity. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2021 Mar;76(1):83-89. doi: 10.1007/s11130-021-00879-7. Epub 2021 Jan 27. PMID: 33506357.

[23] Martin KR, Coles KM. Consumption of 100% Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Serum Urate in Overweight and Obese Adults. Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 Feb 25;3(5):nzz011. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzz011. PMID: 31037275; PMCID: PMC6483050.

[24] Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Laugero KD. A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 17;10(3):368. doi: 10.3390/nu10030368. PMID: 29562604; PMCID: PMC5872786.

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