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Tart Cherry Supplements for Inflammation and Joint Health

Tart Cherry Supplements for Inflammation and Joint Health

Cherries taste delicious. They make a great snack, dessert or even to top a salad. 

They also carry an impressive nutrient profile. Cherries provide good amounts of vitamins A and C as well as potassium. They contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compounds such as quercetin, carotenoids, and melatonin. 

These and other nutrients give this popular fruit numerous health benefits. Eating cherries regularly can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. [1]

Cherries also contain phytochemicals called phenolics. Researchers have identified at least 183 phenolic compounds, including 14 anthocyanins. [2] Flavonoids are the largest group of naturally occurring phenolic compounds. [3]

Cherries are especially rich in anthocyanins, which have the greatest antioxidant capacity of all flavonoids. [4]  The anthocyanins in cherries can help lower blood pressure, improve eyesight, reduce inflammation and much more. [5]

The two cherry species that are most commonly known are: Prunus avium, the "wild" or sweet cherry, and Prunus cerasus, the tart or sour cherry. 

Sweet, juicy cherries are ideal to enjoy fresh to get their many nutrient benefits. Tart cherries, on the other hand, are often used as juices or supplements to provide concentrated, therapeutic amounts of anthocyanins and other nutrients. 

Tart Cherry Packs a Powerful Antioxidant Punch 

Tart cherries are antioxidant heavyweights. They contain more anthocyanins – about 27 to 200 percent higher amounts, in fact – than sweet cherry varieties. They are also higher in anthocyanins than many other fruits. [6]

Tart cherries yield much higher amounts of two specific anthocyanins – anthocyanin 1 and 2 – than some other berries, such as raspberries. [7]

The substantial quantities of anthocyanin 1 and 2 in tart cherry can block cyclooxygenase (COX) 1 and 2. The body uses COX 1 and 2 for pain and inflammation signaling. [8] These anthocyanins act like natural COX-2 inhibitors, without the side effects of prescription drugs.

“The popularity of arthritis drugs like Vioxx was based on their unique ability to block only the pain and inflammation messages of COX-2 while leaving the noninflammatory COX-1 alone,” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. “But anthocyanins produce a similar effect [to these drugs] with none of the problems of drugs.”

The anthocyanins in tart cherry supplements make a promising approach to managing chronic inflammation, reducing joint pain, and much more. 

Tart Cherry Supplements Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Time magazine called chronic inflammation “The Secret Killer.” [9] That’s because simmering, low-grade inflammation can fester for years without any signs.

Researchers attribute chronic inflammation to most diseases. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health. [10]

Chronic inflammation can create other problems, including oxidative stress. While a small number of free radicals can be beneficial, when these free radicals overpower the body’s antioxidant defense system, oxidative stress can result. [11]

Oxidative stress, like chronic inflammation, is a key player in most diseases. [12] The antioxidant power of anthocyanins in tart cherry may help prevent diseases associated with oxidative stress. [13] As a result, tart cherry supplements can help reduce chronic inflammation and manage disease. [14]

Tart Cherry Can Benefit Joint Health 

Severe joint pain can impact someone’s ability to perform basic functions and seriously compromise the quality of life.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Americans suffering from severe joint pain increased from about 10.5 million in 2002 to 14.6 million in 2014. Most of this joint pain is linked to arthritis. [15]

The anthocyanins in tart cherry supplements can help reduce the inflammation that contributes to pain related to osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis), while supporting joint health. [16]

Tart cherry supplements may also help reduce acute and chronic inflammation that plays a role in recurrent gout. This chronic and often debilitating disease is often associated with recurrent flares of inflammatory arthritis. Gout often appears as severe pain and joint dysfunction. [17]

Tart Cherry Benefits Athletes 

As any athlete knows, chronic inflammation and joint pain can hinder recovery and inhibit peak performance. Excessive inflammation and oxidative stress during single-day intense training, competitions, and multi-day tournaments could delay recovery and a return to peak form.

Tart cherry supplements can support recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage.[18] Supplementing with anthocyanin-rich tart cherry around a workout can improve recovery and create a faster return to competition. [19]

To manage joint pain, many athletes reach for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While they may temporarily relieve pain, they carry side effects including stomach ulcers, indigestion, and headaches. [20] Tart cherry supplements provide a safe alternative to NSAIDs to help prevent, treat, and support recovery of injury and pain. [21] 

Other studies show that tart cherry supplements can support endurance exercise. Along with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, tart cherry can enhance blood flow and boost performance. [22] 

In one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, 54 healthy runners ran an average of 26.3 kilometers over a 24-hour period. Participants consumed either tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice daily for seven days prior to the event and on the day of the race.

While both groups reported increased pain after the race, the cherry juice group reported a significantly smaller increase in pain compared to the placebo group. Researchers concluded that ingesting tart cherry juice for seven days prior to and during a strenuous running event can minimize post-run muscle pain. [23] 

Tart cherry supplements also benefit other types of exercise, including resistance exercise. In one study, 23 healthy, resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to ingest capsules containing a placebo or powdered tart cherries.

Compared with the placebo group, the tart cherry group had lower muscle soreness. Researchers concluded that using tart cherries surrounding a single bout of resistance exercise may also support muscle strength and recovery while preventing muscle breakdown. [24]

Not Just for Athletes: The Many Benefits of Tart Cherry

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry supplements provide a wide variety of benefits. After all, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress impact nearly every condition, especially age-related diseases. [25]

From that perspective, using tart cherry as a supplement can support numerous conditions, including: 

  • Insomnia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer [26] 

To get the anti-inflammatory, joint-supporting and other benefits, you’ll want to choose the right tart cherry supplement.

Choosing a tart cherry supplement

Not all tart cherry supplements are created equally. The polyphenol content can vary drastically depending on the quality of the fruit used, where and when it was grown, how it was processed, and a number of other factors. That’s why any old tart cherry supplement just won’t do.

When shopping for a tart cherry product, you should look for the ones that are made with NordicCherry®, a tart cherry extract made from high quality cherries grown in Denmark.

NordicCherry’s process starts with the cherries. They’re a unique type of tart cherry cultivar called Stevnsbaer cherries. These cherries are small and low in water, but absolutely loaded with health-boosting polyphenols.

After harvest, the fruit and skins of these cherries are gently processed using patented water extraction techniques to isolate the bioactive polyphenols.

Finally, the resulting isolated polyphenols are protected with a plant starch matrix using NordicCherry’s MatrixShield technology. 

The end result is an easily mixable, non-clumping powder that offers a potent dose of tart cherry polyphenols in each 500 mg serving.

NordicCherry has been scientifically shown to promote muscle recovery following intense workouts, and each and every dose provides a consistent, standardized, and powerful dose of tart cherry polyphenols—without the sugar content of tart cherry juices. 

Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus is a high-quality tart cherry supplement that meets all of these criteria for a worthwhile supplement. But not only is it made with NordicCherry and low in sugar, but it also contains other good-for-you superfood ingredients like:

  • Boswellia serrata: Also known as Indian frankincense, this herb exhibits inflammation and oxidation balancing properties. Research suggests that it can improve knee joint function and reduce knee discomfort in as little as seven days, in some cases.
  • Rephyll: Rephyll contains beta-caryophyllene, a terpene isolated from black pepper. It may help delay the onset of muscle soreness and reduce discomfort post-workout and defend your cells against degradation from oxidative stress.
  • Collagen: Collagen forms the protein matrix that provides structure and flexibility to your skin, joints, and soft tissues. As a supplement, type II collagen may reduce joint discomfort and stiffness. It’s also been linked to a decrease in inflammatory blood markers. (21)

In addition to containing these power-packed ingredients, Cherry Goodness Joint Health Plus is gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and sugar-free—as well as non-GMO. It’s also made in the USA, from meticulously sourced, high-quality ingredients. 

It’s not just for joint health, either. These carefully chosen ingredients also make it a powerhouse of antioxidants, and a great daily maintenance supplement for active people and anyone looking to age well. 


[1] McCune LM, Kubota C, Stendell-Hollis NR, Thomson CA. Cherries and health: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Jan;51(1):1-12. doi: 10.1080/10408390903001719. PMID: 21229414.

[2] Goufo P, Singh RK, Cortez I. A Reference List of Phenolic Compounds (Including Stilbenes) in Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) Roots, Woods, Canes, Stems, and Leaves. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 May 8;9(5):398. doi: 10.3390/antiox9050398. PMID: 32397203; PMCID: PMC7278806.

[3] Sulaiman CT, Balachandran I. Total phenolics and total flavonoids in selected Indian medicinal plants. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2012 May;74(3):258-60. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.106069. PMID: 23439764; PMCID: PMC3574537.

[4] Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries.Phytomedicine. 2001;8(5):362-369.

[5] Konczak I, Zhang W. Anthocyanins-More Than Nature's Colours. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004;2004(5):239-240. doi: 10.1155/S1110724304407013. PMID: 15577183; PMCID: PMC1082903.

[6] Kim DO, Heo HJ, Kim YJ, Yang HS, Lee CY. Sweet and sour cherry phenolics and their protective effects on neuronal cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(26):9921-9927

[7] Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries.Phytomedicine. 2001;8(5):362-369.

[8] Vane JR, Bakhle YS, Botting RM. Cyclooxygenases 1 and 2. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 1998;38:97-120. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.38.1.97. PMID: 9597150.


[10] Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2020 Nov 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

[11] Hardbower DM, de Sablet T, Chaturvedi R, Wilson KT. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress: the smoking gun for Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric cancer? Gut Microbes. 2013 Nov-Dec;4(6):475-81. doi: 10.4161/gmic.25583. Epub 2013 Jun 28. PMID: 23811829; PMCID: PMC3928159.

[12] Pizzino G, Irrera N, Cucinotta M, Pallio G, Mannino F, Arcoraci V, Squadrito F, Altavilla D, Bitto A. Oxidative Stress: Harms and Benefits for Human Health. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:8416763. doi: 10.1155/2017/8416763. Epub 2017 Jul 27. PMID: 28819546; PMCID: PMC5551541.

[13] Mattioli R, Francioso A, Mosca L, Silva P. Anthocyanins: A Comprehensive Review of Their Chemical Properties and Health Effects on Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Molecules. 2020 Aug 21;25(17):3809. doi: 10.3390/molecules25173809. PMID: 32825684; PMCID: PMC7504512.

[14] Valenza A, Bonfanti C, Pasini ME, Bellosta P. Anthocyanins Function as Anti-Inflammatory Agents in a Drosophila Model for Adipose Tissue Macrophage Infiltration. Biomed Res Int. 2018 Mar 12;2018:6413172. doi: 10.1155/2018/6413172. PMID: 29721509; PMCID: PMC5867604.

[15] Barbour KE, Boring M, Helmick CG, Murphy LB, Qin J. Prevalence of Severe Joint Pain Among Adults with Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis — United States, 2002–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1052–1056.

[16] 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.

[17] Collins MW, Saag KG, Singh JA. Is there a role for cherries in the management of gout? Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2019 May 17;11:1759720X19847018. doi: 10.1177/1759720X19847018. PMID: 31205513; PMCID: PMC6535740.

[18] 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.

[19] Vitale KC, Hueglin S, Broad E. Tart Cherry Juice in Athletes: A Literature Review and Commentary. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2017 Jul/Aug;16(4):230-239. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000385. PMID: 28696985.


[21] 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.

[22] Gao R, Chilibeck PD. Effect of Tart Cherry Concentrate on Endurance Exercise Performance: A Meta-analysis. J Am Coll Nutr. 2020 Sep-Oct;39(7):657-664. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2020.1713246. Epub 2020 Jan 27. PMID: 31986108.

[23] Kuehl KS, Perrier ET, Elliot DL, Chesnutt JC. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 May 7;7:17. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-17. PMID: 20459662; PMCID: PMC2874510.

[24] Levers K, Dalton R, Galvan E, Goodenough C, O'Connor A, Simbo S, Barringer N, Mertens-Talcott SU, Rasmussen C, Greenwood M, Riechman S, Crouse S, Kreider RB. Effects of powdered Montmorency tart cherry supplementation on an acute bout of intense lower body strength exercise in resistance trained males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Nov 16;12:41. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0102-y. PMID: 26578852; PMCID: PMC4647629.

[25] Khansari N, Shakiba Y, Mahmoudi M. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2009 Jan;3(1):73-80. doi: 10.2174/187221309787158371. PMID: 19149749.

[26] Liguori I, Russo G, Curcio F, Bulli G, Aran L, Della-Morte D, Gargiulo G, Testa G, Cacciatore F, Bonaduce D, Abete P. Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Apr 26;13:757-772. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S158513. PMID: 29731617; PMCID: PMC5927356.

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Benefits of Tart Cherry Supplements vs Tart Cherry Juice

Benefits of Tart Cherry Supplements vs Tart Cherry Juice

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