Epidemiological evidence suggests that a high intake of plant foods is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases. Recently, numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents have been identified in plants purported to reduce illness and disease associated with inflammation and tissue damage. Specifically, the disease modifying agents include cyclo-oxygenase inhibitory flavonoides (Seeram, Bourquin, & Nair, 2001; Wang et al., 1999) and anthocynanins with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities (Blando, Gerardi, & Nicoletti, 2004; Tall et al., 2004). These have been identified in natural foods from black tea to tart cherries to fish oil. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents have been identified in tart cherries, and a study among healthy, non-exercising individuals demonstrated that sweet cherry consumption decreased serum inflammatory biomarkers (Kelley, Rasooly, Jacob, Kader, & Mackey, 2006). This has led to speculation that consumption of tart cherries may be effective in alleviating symptoms in inflammatory conditions (Tall et al., 2004).
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common syndrome affecting 65 million Americans characterized by pain and disability (Rayman & Callaghan, 2006; Felson et al., 2000). Pain relief and improvement of functional disability are the main goals of treatment. A number of studies have looked at dietary factors on inflammation in arthritis patients and some have been purported to improve arthritis pain and function (Pattison et al., 2007). Such natural anti-inflammatory products may be beneficial for the management and treatment of inflammatory diseases without the adverse side effects. Tart cherries have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in animals and humans (Connolly, McHugh, Padilla-Zakour, Carlson, & Sayers, 2006; Kuehl, Perrier, Elliot, & Chesnutt, 2010).
This study was designed to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of tart cherry juice among 40-70 year old inflammatory OA subjects during a randomized, double-blind placebo controlled design. The study’s outcomes were to assess changes in serum biomarkers of inflammation.
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(Author: Kerry S. Kuehl, Diane L. Elliot, Adriana E. Sleigh, Jennifer L. Smith