Arthritis & Gout

Studies have explored the impact of Montmorency tart cherry juice consumption on gout attacks and arthritis symptoms.

For decades, people with arthritis and gout have consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice for relief of symptoms – even though much of the evidence was anecdotal, and some people dismissed the soothing claims as folklore.

Now scientists have turned their attention to Montmorency tart cherries to test the potential benefits for arthritis and gout sufferers.

A look at the science.

Uric acid levels: Excess uric acid in the blood is the culprit behind the excruciating pain of a gout attack. A study from USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California, Davis, found that healthy women ages 20 to 40 who consumed 2 servings (280 grams) of cherries after an overnight fast showed a 15% reduction in uric acid levels, as well as decreased inflammatory markers nitric oxide and C-reactive protein.

Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women.

Researchers in the UK used 2 different amounts of Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate, 30 and 60 mL (about 1 and 2 ounces) mixed with water to investigate the bioavailability of anthocyanins and the impact on uric acid levels and inflammation. In this single-blind, two-phased, randomized, cross-over designed study, 12 healthy participants without gout (male and female) were given the 2 different doses of the juice with a washout period of at least 10 days between the phases. The tart cherries were found to significantly reduce uric acid levels up to eight hours. The levels began to increase back to the starting levels after 24-48 hours. The 30 mL dose (equal to about 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries) was just as effective as the 60 mL dose. More research is needed to determine what the effect would be on individuals with gout or those at risk of developing gout.

Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside. 

Osteoarthritis:  In a study conducted at Oregon Health and Science University, 20 females with osteoarthritis (ages 40-70 years) drank 10.5-ounce bottles of either Montmorency tart cherry juice or a placebo beverage twice daily for 21 days. Participants assessed level of pain at baseline and after the invention, and blood was drawn to evaluate several different biomarkers of inflammation. The tart cherry group experienced a significant reduction in one of the inflammation biomarkers, C-reactive protein.

Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation biomarkers among women with inflammatory osteoarthritis.

Additional studies on Montmorency tart cherries and gout/arthritis:

Is there a role for cherries in the management of gout?

Consumption of 100% tart cherry juice reduces serum urate in overweight and obese adults.

Cherry consumption and decreased recurrent gout attacks.

An internet survey of common treatments used by patients with gout including cherry extract and other dietary supplements.

For ideas on how to incorporate tart cherries into your diet, click here.