Use of a mixture of powdered Montmorency tart cherry skin, highly standardized Tanacetum parthenium extract and bromelain in powerlifting athletes: a preliminary study


  • Alexander Bertuccioli
  • Giordano Zonzini
  • Andrea Bernabucci


Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) is a transient phenomenon following intense exercise. EIMD is caused by structural damage to myofibers and secondary inflammation resulting from leukocyte infiltration into the damaged tissues. It is associated with temporary decrements in maximal force-generating capacity, acute and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), localized swelling, decreased pressure pain threshold, elevated levels of intramuscular enzymes (creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase and myoglobin) and elevations in markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein and interleukins. Several nutraceutical principles have documented anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects that may be useful in managing EIMD, including tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.), which has already been evaluated in different forms in the sports field, feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.) and bromelain, which with different mechanisms of action, can intervene in the modulation of inflammatory responses and nociception. In this preliminary study, 15 subjects took one sachet per day of a mixture of dried Montmorency tart cherry skin powder (CherryPURETM), feverfew dry extract and bromelain (marketed under the name ‘Freedoms’) for seven days. This was followed by an equivalent seven-day control period in which they took a powdered blend of electrolytes and vitamins (containing potassium citrate 20% NRV, magnesium citrate 50% NRV, zinc citrate 75% NRV and vitamin C 150% NRV and vitamin E 100% NRV) reconstituted in water, making a drink indistinguishable from that relating to the nutraceutical product. The Freedoms–control cycle was repeated twice, separated with a seven-day washout, for a total of 28 treatment days and seven washout days. The scores, relating to the scales used on the Borg CR-10 ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were independently collected by the evaluated subjects both in the weeks of taking the nutraceutical product and in the weeks of taking the control product. The intake of Freedoms, when compared to the intake of a mixture of electrolytes and vitamins, over seven days, correlates with a 7.1% reduction in Borg CR-10 rated RPE, potentially contributing to the use of higher loads and the overall realization of higher training volumes. Further evaluations in the future, using a larger sample, more circumscribed with more uniform criteria, over a longer timeframe, are necessary to further clarify the application potential of this nutraceutical blend.