A team of researchers from the UK and South Africa recently published the results of a study measuring the effect that drinking cherry juice has on blood levels of uric acid, the main compound that causes gout. The study was performed on healthy volunteers, so no reliable inferences can be made regarding the link between drinking cherry juice and preventing or curing gout, but it does seem to suggest it could help.
The research team used 12 healthy volunteers, with an average age of 26, and asked them to consume two different volumes of cherry juice mixed with water. Uric acid activity and inflammation levels - both known to be related to gout - were measured both at the start of the study and 48 hours afterwards. The participants were also requested to avoid eating other sources of anthocyanins (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and red wine) both during the trial and 48 hours beforehand. During the two-day study, numerous cherry supplements were administered in order to detect cumulative effects.
What Came Out of it?
At the end of the study, participants who had consumed both the lower and the higher doses of cherry juice had the same reduced uric acid levels, about 300 microMol per liter as opposed the previous 500 microMol per liter. After 48 hours, the levels had increased back to almost normal. In addition, the levels of the natural markers of blood inflammation decreased after the consumption of the juice.
What Does This Mean?
According to the researchers, these findings suggest that cherry concentrate could be used as a complementary therapy in the treatment of gout. However, the fact that the volunteers were all healthy and had no history of the condition means that much more research into this area needs to be conducted before any strong inferences regarding treatment are made. It could also be the case that the reductions in uric acid and inflammation were a result of other dietary factors that the study failed to account for.
The current knowledge in this field is limited, so while cherries have a host of other health benefits, they should not yet be relied upon to help cure or prevent gout.
- Journal of Functional Foods, Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside, 2014