So, you’ve seen the Tik Tok hype about cherry juice and now you may be wondering “Is tart cherry juice the real deal? Can it help with my weight loss goals? Are the health benefits backed by science or is it just a fad?”
We took a deep dive into the research and there is a large body of scientific studies that support many of the health benefits posted on social media with one initial study indicating potential benefits for weight loss. Let’s take a closer look at the claims.
First, what does Tik Tok have to say about tart cherry juice?
- Helps with weight loss
- Helps regulate sleep cycles
- Relieves gout/arthritis
- Fights inflammation
- Reduces muscle soreness and increases muscle strength
Now, what does science have to say about tart cherry juice benefits?
Helps with Weight Loss
More research is needed when it comes to the weight loss benefits of tart cherry juice, but one initial animal study showed promising results. In the study, the intake of anthocyanin-rich beverages (i.e. tart cherry juice) in at-risk obese rats was associated with reduced percentage fat mass, reduced abdominal fat weight, along with other health improvements. The study also indicated that tart cherry juice may also reduce the degree or trajectory of metabolic syndrome which would subsequently reduce the risk for development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But more research and further studies are needed to know for sure.
Helps Regulate Sleep Cycles
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for your sleep-wake cycles. Tart cherries naturally contain melatonin producing compounds. Tart cherries contain a significant amount of tryptophan and anthocyanins which help the body produce melatonin on its own and lengthen its effects.
In two separate studies the data suggested that tart cherry juice concentrate improves sleep duration and quality, and produced significant reductions in insomnia severity.[2,3]
Gout flare ups are caused by the buildup of uric acid. In a study conducted in 2011, tart cherry juice significantly reduced the level of uric acid in participants that consumed 8 ounces every day for a month. [4,5]
A 2012 study found that when tart cherry juice was consumed for 4 months or longer, gout flare ups were reduced significantly. 
Furthermore, another research study in 2012 set out to determine the relationship between cherry intake and the risk of recurrent gout attacks and found that cherry intake over a 2-day period was associated with a 35% lower risk of gout attacks compared to no intake.
Fights Inflammation and Swelling
Tart cherry juice supplementation may be a potential, more natural alternative to NSAIDs. A 2004 study found that tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation and pain-related behavior in animals. The antioxidants found in tart cherries are believed to reduce pain from inflammation caused by osteoarthritis as well. [8,9]
Reduces Muscle Soreness and Improves Muscle Strength
There are several studies that indicate tart cherry juice is effective at reducing muscle soreness due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
In one study, marathon runners ingested 355 ml bottles of tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice daily for 7 days prior to a race event and on the day of the race. The tart cherry juice participants were shown to have less muscle damage, less soreness and inflammation, and recovered faster compared to the placebo group. 
There are two studies that examined whether tart cherry juice improves muscle strength. The findings suggest that tart cherry ingested leading up to and after an intense resistance training workout reduced pain perception, reduced muscle soreness, and improved muscle strength during the recovery (the group taking tart cherry retained 4% more muscle strength post training compared to placebo group). 
Other Potential Health Benefits
Tart cherry juice or anthocyanin-rich beverages may be beneficial in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia, with potential to improve specific cognitive outcomes. One study shows improvements in verbal fluency, short-term memory, and long-term memory. 
Because tart cherries are full of many beneficial vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin k, and copper they can also provide immune health support and can possibly prevent infections.
Another study that looked at upper respiratory tract symptoms (URTS) in marathon runners, indicated that 50% of the runners who were given a placebo developed upper respiratory tract symptoms post-race whereas NONE of the runners who were given tart cherries did. This is the first study that provides evidence of the potential role tart cherries may have in reducing the development of URTS caused by exercise and/or other infectious and non-infectious factors. 
One research study conducted by University of Delaware saw that the daily incorporation of tart cherry juice into diet reduced systolic BP in older adults and could be a plausible intervention for improved cardiovascular health in older adults. 
Risks of tart cherry juice
Be cautious of the sugar content of tart cherry juice, especially if you are someone with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. There are naturally occurring sugars in tart cherry juice, but some brands of juice may contain added sugars, or it may be blended with other high in sugar fruit juices.
Tart cherry juice may have interactions with certain medications including blood pressure medications. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a tart cherry juice regimen.
Although tart cherries are rich in nutrients and are otherwise healthy for you, that does not mean they are calorie free. Be sure that you take into account the calories and sugar content of tart cherries when tracking food intake or meal planning.
Overall, tart cherry juice may have some amazing potential to help with various health conditions, especially with sleep/insomnia and muscle soreness/recovery. If you’re interested in trying out tart cherry juice for yourself, it’s always best to discuss adding any type of supplement or vitamin to your daily intake with your healthcare provider.
- E M Seymour, Sarah K Lewis, Daniel E Urcuyo-Llanes, Ignasia I Tanone, Ara Kirakosyan, Peter B Kaufman, Steven F Bolling. (2009). “Regular tart cherry intake alters abdominal adiposity, adipose gene transcription, and inflammation in obesity-prone rats fed a high fat diet” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19857054/
- Glyn Howatson, Phillip G Bell, Jamie Tallent, Benita Middleton, Malachy P McHugh, Jason Ellis. (2011). “Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22038497/
- Wilfred R Pigeon, Michelle Carr, Colin Gorman, Michael L Perlis. (2010). “Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20438325/
- Keith R Martin, Jennie Bopp, Lacey Burrell, Ginger Hook. (2011). “The effect of 100% tart cherry juice on serum uric acid levels, biomarkers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors” https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.25.1_supplement.339.2
- Phillip G.Bell, David C. Gaze, Gareth W. Davison, Trevor W. George, Michael J.Scotter, Glyn Howatson. (2014). “Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464614002886
- Naomi Schlesinger, Ruth Rabinowitz, Michael Schlesinger. (2012). “Pilot Studies of Cherry Juice Concentrate for Gout Flare Prophylaxis” https://www.iomcworld.org/open-access/pilot-studies-of-cherry-juice-concentrate-for-gout-flare-prophylaxis-jahs.1000101.pdf
- Yuqing Zhang, Tuhina Neogi, Clara Chen, Christine Chaisson, David J Hunter, Hyon K Choi. (2012). “Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23023818/
- Kerry Kuehl, Diane L Elliot, Adriana Sleigh, Jennifer L Smith. (2012). “Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279508007_Efficacy_of_Tart_Cherry_Juice_to_Reduce_Inflammation_Biomarkers_among_Women_with_Inflammatory_Osteoarthritis_OA
- H R Schumacher, S Pullman-Mooar, S R Gupta, J E Dinnella, R Kim, M P McHugh. (2013). “ Randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23727631/
- Kerry S Kuehl, Erica T Perrier, Diane L Elliot, James C Chesnutt. (2010). “Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20459662/
- K Levers, R Dalton, E Galvan, C Goodenough, A O’Connor, S Simbo, N Barringer, J Carter, C Seesselberg, YP Jung, A Coletta, S Mertens-Talcott, C Rasmussen, M Greenwood, R Kreider. (2014). “ Powdered tart cherry supplementation demonstrates benefit on markers of catabolism and muscle soreness following an acute bout of intense lower body resistance exercise”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4271620/
- Katherine Kent, Karen Charlton, Steven Roodenrys, Marijka Batterham, Jan Potter, Victoria Traynor, Hayley Gilbert, Olivia Morgan, Rachelle Richards. (2015). “Consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice for 12 weeks improves memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26482148/
- Lygeri Dimitriou, Jessica A Hill, Ahmed Jehnali, Joe Dunbar, James Brouner, Malachy P McHugh, Glyn Howatson. (2015). “Influence of a montmorency cherry juice blend on indices of exercise-induced stress and upper respiratory tract symptoms following marathon running–a pilot investigation” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25983669/
- Davis, Kristina. (2016). “Tart cherry juice consumption reduces blood pressure in older adults” https://udspace.udel.edu/handle/19716/19851
- WebMD Editorial Contributors. Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD. (2020). “ Tart Cherry Juice: Is It Good for You?” https://www.webmd.com/diet/tart-cherry-juice-good-for-you
- Ferozan Mast. (2019). “Potential Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Tart Cherry Juice” https://www.livestrong.com/article/506277-the-side-effects-of-tart-cherry-juice/