Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Got Arthritis? Fresh Cherries May Help / May 7, 2004 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
ARS News and Information Search News and Info Science for Kids Image Gallery Agricultural Research Magazine Publications and Newsletters News Archive News and Info home ARS News and Information
Latest news | Subscribe

Photo: Fresh Bing cherries. Link to photo information
Fresh Bing cherries. Click the image for more information about it.

Read the magazine story to find out more.

Got Arthritis? Fresh Cherries May Help

By Marcia Wood
May 7, 2004

Plump, juicy Bing cherries, eaten fresh, may help people who suffer from the pain of gout or other forms of arthritic inflammation. That's according to preliminary results from research at the Agricultural Research Service's Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, Calif.

The 10 healthy women, aged 22 to 40, who volunteered for the first phase of this research ate a special breakfast of 45 fresh, pitted Bing cherries.

ARS chemists Robert A. Jacob (now retired) and Darshan S. Kelley collaborated with university scientists in that preliminary study and, recently, in a more extensive follow-up investigation.

The experiments are among the first to track anti-inflammatory effects of fresh Bing cherries in carefully controlled tests with healthy volunteers. That's in contrast to previous studies, conducted elsewhere, in which scientists analyzed extracts from sweet or tart cherries in the laboratory.

Jacob and Kelley found that levels of uric acid--a compound the body uses to form painful urate crystals during a gout attack--decreased significantly in volunteers' blood (plasma) over the 5 hours after they ate the Bing-cherry breakfast.

And, levels of urate removed from their bodies in urine increased over those 5 hours.

The decrease in two key markers, or indicators, of inflammation--nitric oxide and C reactive protein--weren't large enough to be statistically significant. However, this downward trend agreed with that noted earlier in other scientists' test-tube studies of cherry extracts.

The cherry-breakfast study, reported last year in the Journal of Nutrition, paved the way for the California scientists' longer, follow-up study of more markers in samples from more volunteers--18 women and two men, aged 22 to 40, who ate a total of 45 cherries throughout the day for several weeks.

Findings from this newer investigation should be available later this year. Read more about the research in Agricultural Research magazine.

The grower-sponsored California Cherry Advisory Board, Lodi, Calif., helped fund the research. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

Top | News Staff | Photo Staff

E-mail the web team Privacy and other policies Site map About ARS Information Staff Bottom menu

Home | News | Pubs | Magazine | Photos | Sci4Kids | Search
About ARS Info | Site map | Policies | E-mail us

Last Modified: 5/7/2004
Footer Content Back to Top of Page