If you enjoy the sour taste of tart cherry juice or are hoping to load up on antioxidants — dark red and purple produce, including tart cherries, are rich in anthocyanins — then feel free to keep sipping. But if you’re hoping that drinking cherry juice will prevent you from having another gout attack, don’t count on it.
Although a few studies have suggested that drinking tart juice reduces uric acid levels and, in turn, lowers the risk of having a gout flare, a new study in the journal Rheumatology found no such benefits.
The study involved 50 people with gout who had elevated uric acid levels in their blood. Half were taking the uric acid-lowering medication allopurinol, and continued to do so during the study; the others were not taking medication meant to lower uric acid. The researchers were hoping to determine a precise “dose” of tart cherry juice, so everyone in the study was randomly assigned to drink a placebo or anywhere from 7.5 ml to 30 ml of cherry juice twice a day for 28 days.
At the end of the study, however, researchers weren’t able to find the right amount of tart cherry juice … because none of the groups consuming any amount of it fared better than those in the placebo group as far as their uric acid levels were concerned. It didn’t matter if someone was also taking allopurinol or not.
“Tart cherry concentrate had no effect on [urate levels in the blood] or urine urate excretion,” they concluded. “If there is an effect of cherry concentrate on gout flares over a longer time period, it is not likely to be mediated by reduction in [serum urate].”
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Bell PG, et al. Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) concentrate lowers uric acid, independent of plasma cyanidin-3-O-glucosiderutinoside. Journal of Functional Foods. November 2014. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2014.09.004.
Schlesinger N, et al. Pilot Studies of Cherry Juice Concentrate for Gout Flare Prophylaxis. Journal of Arthritis. February 2012. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2167-7921.1000101.
Stamp LK, et al. Lack of effect of tart cherry concentrate dose on serum urate in people with gout. Rheumatology.December 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kez606.