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Study: Tart cherries may help treat osteoarthritis

May 31, 2012

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in older adults and can often stand in the way of healthy aging. However, researchers believe they have found an easy way to help reduce the inflammation that causes pain in osteoarthritis patients - tart cherries.

The study, from Oregon Health and Science University, looked at the effect the fruit had on 20 women between the ages of 40 and 70 who suffer from inflammatory arthritis. After being instructed to drink tart cherry juice twice a day for three weeks, the subjects presented with substantially reduced inflammation markers. The findings could be a large step forward in treating the often painful disease and helping people enjoy a healthy lifestyle for seniors.

"With millions of Americans looking for ways to naturally manage pain, it's promising that tart cherries can help, without the possible side effects often associated with arthritis medications," said principal investigator Kerry Kuehl.

The study is just the latest batch of research touting the benefits of tart cherries on reducing arthritis-related pain. Experts say that its benefits are tied to antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins that have significant anti-inflammatory capabilities.

An easy, natural treatment for osteoarthritis will likely help a large portion of seniors. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and is often the result of both aging and wear and tear on the joints.

While there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, the NIH says there are some treatment options other than tart cherries. In particular, there are a number of lifestyle choices that can make a big difference, such as eating a healthy diet, losing weight and gentle exercise.