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Montmorency Tart Cherries Linked to reduced Blood Uric Acid Levels

Update Date: Oct 02, 2014 02:11 PM EDT

Montmorency tart cherries have been linked to relieving joint pain associated with gout and arthritis. In a new study, researchers further examined the benefits of drinking the juice from these tart cherries and discovered that they can lead to changes in people's uric acid metabolism. The tart cherry juice also reduced the levels of a compound tied to inflammation.

"We have been investigating Montmorency tart cherries for several years because they're a unique fruit with a high concentration of anthocyanins," said co-author Dr. Glyn Howatson reported in the press release. "Our current study was conducted with a healthy population, although more research is needed to determine the specific benefits of Montmorency tart cherry juice for individuals with inflammatory diseases, including gout and other arthritic conditions."

For this study, the researchers recruited 12 healthy participants from the United Kingdom with the average age of 26. The researchers gave the people two different doses of the Montmorency tart cherry juice. The first beverage consisted of one ounce of juice concentrate mixed with 100 milliliters of water, which was the same as consuming 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries. The other beverage was a mixture of two ounces (60 ml) of juice concentrate in 100 ml of water.

During the two drinking phases, the participants had to drink the mixture in the morning and before dinner for two days in a row. There was a 10-day "washout period" between the two phases. The team collected blood and urine samples to check the blood levels of uric acid, which is a chemical that can lead to a condition called hyperuricemia that occurs when the body produces more uric acid than it can expel. Uric acid typically dissolves in the blood, travels to the kidney and then exits the body in urine.

The team found that drinking either beverage led to a reduction in the blood levels of uric acid and C-reactive protein while the levels of urinary uric acid increased. C-reactive protein is a marker for inflammation. These changes suggested that the Montmorency tart cherries had a beneficial effect on people's joint pain as well as their levels of inflammation.

The study, "Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside," was published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

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