Tart cherry juice effects on exercise-induced cellular damage and performance in female college soccer players

by Pena, Armando, M.S., NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY, 2015, 83 pages; 1594019


Soccer match-play induces cellular damage, specifically oxidative stress, inflammation, and muscle damage. Prolonged damage may hinder performance in succeeding games played within 48 hours, which is common during the season. It was hypothesized that a phytonutrient intervention known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation would attenuate exercise-induced cellular damage, leading to improved performance two days later.

This hypothesis was tested by determining the effects of short-term tart cherry juice consumption on exercise-induced cellular damage and performance in female collegiate soccer players. Participants were randomized into 3 groups: tart cherry juice (TCJ, n=10), placebo (PLA, n=10), and control (CON, n=5). TCJ and PLA groups consumed 8 fl. oz. of tart cherry juice or a cherry-flavored placebo, twice per day for 7 days while the CON group received no treatment. On day 5, participants underwent a high-intensity training session designed to mimic the cellular stress response (oxidative stress, inflammation, muscle damage) from a soccer match. Markers of oxidative stress (urinary 8-isoprostanes), inflammation (plasma IL-6), and muscle damage (serum creatine kinase) were measured at baseline, on day 5 post-exercise, and on day 7 (recovery). Performance indicators (50-y sprint, single-leg bound test, and 300-y Shuttle Run) were measured pre- and post-intervention (day 0 and day 7).

IL-6 and CK increased significantly in all groups in response to the high-intensity training session on day 5 (p<0.05), while 8-isoprostanes showed no significant time response. Additionally, there were no differences between groups. None of the performance measures changed from pre- to post-intervention and there were no group differences.

Contrary to our hypothesis, the tart cherry juice did not modify the oxidative stress and inflammatory response as compared to placebo or control. Therefore, any differences in performance attributable to lower exercise-induced cellular damage would not be seen. Duration of the intervention and the timing of consumption need further investigation.

AdviserTinna Traustadottir
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsFood science; Cellular biology; Women's studies; Kinesiology
Publication Number1594019

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