Life Extension Magazine®

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Research Update: Body-Wide Benefits of Tart Cherry

Tart cherry is known to improve exercise endurance and muscle recovery. Recent research shows that tart cherry helps reduce inflammation, preserve bone density, and boost cognition.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Patricia Weiser, PharmD.

Studies have found tart cherries not only help athletes with exercise endurance1 but also help with muscle recovery after exercise.2 Over the last few years, researchers have discovered many other potential benefits.

Also known as sour cherries, tart cherries are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, including polyphenols, and anthocyanins.3-5 These may protect against diseases and promote health.

Clinical and preclinical research has shown that tart cherry extract can help reduce inflammation, improve glucose metabolism, preserve bone density, and boost cognition. There is even preclinical research indicating it could prolong lifespan.

Reducing Inflammation

Chronic inflammation drives the development of many diseases of aging, including type II diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.6

Tart cherry extract has been shown in both preclinical and clinical studies to lower multiple biomarkers of inflammation, most notably C-reactive protein (CRP).3,7

A systematic review and meta-analysis of ten randomized controlled trials found that consuming tart cherry juice or powder led to significant decreases in the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein.7

One of the studies in the analysis was a trial in older adults found that consuming 480 mL of tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks reduced C-reactive protein levels by 25%, compared to those who did not consume tart cherry.8

Protecting Bone Health

Osteoporosis, a disease characterized by bone loss and increased fracture risk, is especially common among older women.9

Bone loss occurs when resorption (loss of bone tissue) occurs at a faster pace than bone formation. This imbalance can result from changes that occur during aging, such as hormone shifts in menopause and increased inflammation.9

A 90-day randomized trial in women aged 65-80 found that consuming about 500 mL of tart cherry juice per day resulted in a significant decrease in a biomarker of bone resorption compared to baseline.10

A preclinical cell-based study confirmed that tart cherry extract exhibits properties that would inhibit bone breakdown.11

Improved Cognition

Two separate randomized controlled trials have shown that supplementation with tart cherry juice improved cognitive performance.12,13

In one controlled clinical trial in middle-aged adults, those taking 1-ounce tart cherry concentrate twice daily for three months had significant improvements in accuracy on tests of cognitive function compared to those who took a placebo. Supplementation with the tart cherry extract also resulted in greater alertness and less mental fatigue.12

Another randomized controlled trial in healthy older adults with normal cognitive function found that those assigned to consume 2.3 oz of tart cherry juice concentrate daily for 12 weeks (mixed in enough water to make 2 cups of liquid) improved on tests of cognitive abilities, including memory, task speed, and overall performance.13

There is even preclinical evidence to suggest that tart cherry could potentially alter the course of Alzheimer's disease. In a mouse model of Alzheimer's, scientists supplied a combination of tart cherry extract along with omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat (similar to what is in olive oil.) This treatment led to reduced memory deficits, which were associated with decreased brain cell loss and reduced deposits of beta-amyloid, a protein that accumulates in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease.14

Promoting Longevity

Oxidative stress and dysfunction of mitochondria (the "powerhouses" of cells) are both linked to aging.15 In a study in roundworms, tart cherry extract enhanced mitochondrial function and reduced oxidative stress.

In this study, roundworms given tart cherry extract had a longer average lifespan than untreated worms,5 suggesting potential longevity benefits of tart cherry extract.


Tart cherry extract has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which translates to health benefits throughout the body.

Recent research shows that tart cherry can improve reduce inflammation, protect against bone breakdown, improve cognitive function, and may promote longevity.

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


  1. Gao R, Chilibeck PD. Effect of Tart Cherry Concentrate on Endurance Exercise Performance: A Meta-analysis. J Am Coll Nutr.2020Sep-Oct;39(7):657-64.
  2. O'Connor E, Mündel T, Barnes MJ. Nutritional Compounds to Improve Post-Exercise Recovery. Nutrients.2022Nov 29;14(23).
  3. 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.2021Mar;66:101254.
  4. Moosavian SP, Maharat M, Chambari M, et al. Effects of tart cherry juice consumption on cardio-metabolic risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2022Dec;71:102883.
  5. Jayarathne S, Ramalingam L, Edwards H, et al. Tart Cherry Increases Lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans by Altering Metabolic Signaling Pathways. Nutrients.2020May 20;12(5).
  6. Available at: . Accessed May, 19, 2023.
  7. Gholami A, Amirkalali B, Baradaran HR, et al. The beneficial effect of tart cherry on plasma levels of inflammatory mediators (not recovery after exercise): A systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized clinical trials. Complement Ther Med.2022Sep;68:102842.
  8. Chai SC, Davis K, Zhang Z, et al. Effects of Tart Cherry Juice on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Older Adults. Nutrients. 2019Jan 22;11(2).
  9. Sozen T, Ozisik L, Basaran NC. An overview and management of osteoporosis. Eur J Rheumatol.2017Mar;4(1):46-56.
  10. Dodier T, Anderson KL, Bothwell J, et al. U.S. Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Decreases Bone Resorption in Women Aged 65-80 Years. Nutrients. 2021Feb 7;13(2).
  11. Thomas A, South S, Vijayagopal P, et al. Effect of Tart Cherry Polyphenols on Osteoclast Differentiation and Activity. J Med Food. 2020Jan;23(1):56-64.
  12. Kimble R, Keane KM, Lodge JK, et al. Polyphenol-rich tart cherries (Prunus Cerasus, cv Montmorency) improve sustained attention, feelings of alertness and mental fatigue and influence the plasma metabolome in middle-aged adults: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2022Feb 3;128(12):1-12.
  13. 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.2019Jul 17;10(7):4423-31.
  14. Bowers Z, Maiti P, Bourcier A, et al. Tart Cherry Extract and Omega Fatty Acids Reduce Behavioral Deficits, Gliosis, and Amyloid-Beta Deposition in the 5xFAD Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. Brain Sci. 2021Oct 27;11(11).
  15. Giorgi C, Marchi S, Simoes ICM, et al. Mitochondria and Reactive Oxygen Species in Aging and Age-Related Diseases. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2018;340:209-344.