Life Extension Magazine®

Tart cherries containing anthocyanins that boost whole body health

What is Tart Cherry?

The anthocyanins and polyphenols in tart cherries can improve cognition, cardiovascular disease, and the factors underlying gout.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in August 2023. Written by: Chancellor Faloon.

Tart cherries, also known as sour cherries, contain compounds, including a class of polyphenols known as anthocyanins, that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.1,2

Portrait of Chancellor Faloon

Research has shown that tart cherries can relieve arthritis pain, boost cognition, improve cardiovascular health, benefit endurance athletes, and target the underlying factors of gout.1,3

Tart cherries have been widely used to boost recovery and performance for athletes.

A 2020 meta-analysis of trials on endurance athletes confirmed that tart cherry concentrate intake significantly improves endurance exercise performance.4

In recent randomized controlled trials, those drinking tart cherry juice had improvements in a variety of areas:

  • Healthy older adults who drank two cups (16 oz) of tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks had improved scores on tests of cognitive abilities, including reaction time, a learning task, and spatial working memory compared to baseline.5
  • In subjects 50 and older suffering from insomnia, drinking one cup (8 oz) of tart cherry juice twice daily for two weeks led to increased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Researchers noted that tart cherry juice prevented the degradation of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that may help treat sleep disorders.6
  • In overweight or obese individuals, one cup (8 oz)/day of tart cherry juice reduced serum uric acid concentration by 19.2% and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) by 19.4%.7 Elevated blood uric acid is the underlying cause of gout, which is a painful form of arthritis.8
Doctor examining patient’s hand for arthritis pain

Tart cherries and their juice are naturally high in sugar. Many people prefer to avoid this sugar load and take tart cherry extract instead.

In one study, taking tart cherry extract was 15.4% more effective at reducing the odds of a gout attack than eating cherries.9

A wealth of data shows that tart cherry extract can provide a wide range of health benefits.

A potential new use for tart cherry extract has been uncovered.

When components of tart cherry were tested on oral epithelial cells (cells that line the surfaces of the mouth), they improved the protective barrier function. Tart cherry also reduced the ability of oral pathogens to clump together in sticky white plaque that forms on teeth and gums.10

In a different study, tart cherry extract reduced growth and activity of the bacteria that are the main cause of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).11,12 These studies suggest that tart cherry extract fights oral pathogens and may help prevent and treat oral plaque.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


  1. Mansoori S, Dini A, Chai SC. Effects of tart cherry and its metabolites on aging and inflammatory conditions: Efficacy and possible mechanisms. Ageing Res Rev. 2021 Mar;66:101254.
  2. Kirakosyan A, Seymour EM, Llanes DEU, et al. Chemical profile and antioxidant capacities of tart cherry products. Food Chemistry. 2009 2009/07/01/;115(1):20-5.
  3. Kelley DS, Adkins Y, Laugero KD. A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 17;10(3).
  4. 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):657-64.
  5. Chai SC, Jerusik J, Davis K, et al. Effect of Montmorency tart cherry juice on cognitive performance in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Food Funct. 2019 Jul 17;10(7):4423-31.
  6. Losso JN, Finley JW, Karki N, et al. Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms. Am J Ther. 2018 Mar/Apr;25(2):e194-e201.
  7. Martin KR, Coles KM. Consumption of 100% Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Serum Urate in Overweight and Obese Adults. Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 May;3(5):nzz011.
  8. Dalbeth N, Choi HK, Joosten LAB, et al. Gout. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2019 Sep 26;5(1):69.
  9. Zhang Y, Neogi T, Chen C, et al. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Dec;64(12):4004-11.
  10. Ben Lagha A, LeBel G, Grenier D. Tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) fractions inhibit biofilm formation and adherence properties of oral pathogens and enhance oral epithelial barrier function. Phytother Res. 2020 Apr;34(4):886-95.
  11. Ben Lagha A, Pellerin G, Vaillancourt K, et al. Effects of a tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) phenolic extract on Porphyromonas gingivalis and its ability to impair the oral epithelial barrier. PLoS One. 2021;16(1):e0246194.
  12. How KY, Song KP, Chan KG. Porphyromonas gingivalis: An Overview of Periodontopathic Pathogen below the Gum Line. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2016;7:53.