Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not tart cherry supplements are effective at alleviating muscle soreness and pain following high resistance training.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of two double blind randomized control trials, and one crossover randomized control trial. All three studies were published in English between 2006-2015.

DATA SOURCES: Two double blind randomized control trials and one crossover randomized control trial found using Cochrane and PubMed.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The outcomes measured were muscle soreness and perception of pain. They were measured using a pressure-pain threshold and 10 point pain scale

RESULTS: The first study, the Bowtell study showed tart cherry may provide a small amount of relief as assessed through pressure-pain threshold, but has not proven in this study to be statistically significant. The second study, the Connolly study indicate tart cherry supplements significantly aid in subjective measures of pain but not tenderness. The third study, the Levers study revealed overall, the tart cherry supplement significantly decreased participants perception of muscle soreness. No serious adverse events were noted in any of the three studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on these three trials, it is inconclusive whether tart cherry supplements are an effective treatment for musculoskeletal pain and soreness following high intensity resistance training. Not all results were statistically significant; however, each study showed some improvement in muscle soreness and perception of pain. Therefore, though more research is needed, tart cherry supplements may provide an alternative to or supplement to the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.