February 25th, 2011
Oregon Health & Science University
Tart cherry juice may be a safer way to treat muscle pain and inflammation than over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, according to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University.
A study of athletes who competed in Oregon’s Hood to Coast Relay showed runners who consumed Montmorency cherry juice for a week prior to the race and on race day reported significantly less pain than runners who received a placebo. Hood to Coast is a 197-mile race from Mount Hood to Seaside, Ore., that involves 1,000 eight- to 12-person relay teams.
“The bottom line is those runners who used tart cherry juice had less inflammation and faster muscle strength recovery,” said Kerry Kuehl, M.D., associate professor of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine and the lead author on the study. The results were published in a recent issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Montmorency – or sour pie cherries – have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food, including blueberries, pomegranates and other fruits. The anti-inflammatory substance found in the peel of the fruit contains the same enzyme as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are the most widely used drug in the world. An estimated 60 million people take a prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, including aspirin, every day. However, regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to kidney failure, heart and stomach problems.
“There are an estimated 100,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths per year due to internal bleeding caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatories,” Kuehl says. “Dehydration in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use – which is common among runners – can damage the kidneys. Montmorency cherry juice may be a healthier substitute.”
The study measured pain reduction among a group of runners who participated in the 2009 Hood to Coast run. The runners consumed 10½ ounces of Montmorency cherry juice twice a day for seven days prior to the race and then drank that amount every eight hours on race day. None of the study participants were taking any other pain relievers.
The juice used in the study was provided by Cherrish Inc. There was no outside funding for the study.
Kuehl and other researchers are conducting further studies on cherry juice, including research on how key ingredients help rebuild muscle.
April 29, 2010
by Mitch Lipka
Hundreds of thousands cribs are being recalled after they were connected to reports of infants becoming trapped in them, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is announcing today. The recalls are for cribs sold under the Graco and Simplicity brands.
About 217,000 Graco brand drop side cribs made by LaJobi Inc. are being recalled after nearly 100 reports of hardware failure that allowed the drop side of the crib to detach. Six children reportedly fell through the resulting opening and two others became trapped, the CPSC said.
Drop side cribs, once the industry standard, are on the verge of being banned. That style of crib has been blamed for well over a dozen infant and toddler deaths and is no longer being carried by the biggest children’s product retailer, Toys R Us/Babies R Us. This is just one in a long string of crib recalls.
The recalled wood cribs came in cherry, espresso, natural and white finishes. The name “LaJobi” and the crib’s model number can be found on a sticker on the stabilizer bar or on the bottom rail of the crib.
The China- and Vietnam-made cribs were sold nationwide from February 2007 through March 2010 for $140-$200.
If you have one of the cribs, you are asked to stop using it until you receive a hardware kit from LaJobi that will immobilize the drop side.
For more information, call LaJobi at (888) 842-2215 or visit the company’s website.
In a separate announcement, now-defunct Simplicity cribs are once again being recalled after the death of a child. Simplicity cribs are being targeted by the CPSC as a particular danger. A Massachusetts toddler suffocated in 2008 after getting stuck between the mattress and the frame. Another 13 incidents have been reported involving the tubular metal framed cribs bending or coming apart.
The cribs were sold under the Aspen, Chelsea, Graco and Simplicity brands.
The CPSC is urging anyone with one of these cribs to stop using them and find another place for their infant or toddler to sleep.
The safety agency said it does not know how many of these metal-framed cribs were sold. The China-made cribs were sold at chain stores nationwide including Walmart and Target for $150-$300. Consumers can return these cribs to the store where they were purchased for a refund, credit or replacement crib.
January 4, 2010
The Seattle Times
By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.
Q. I have suffered from arthritis in my right hip for several years. By last fall, it got so bad I could hardly walk. Through the years, I tried all of the supplements for joint health advertised on TV. I also have had two expensive injections into my hip that gave me relief for only a few days. Nothing was helping.
I don’t remember when I heard about cherries, but I started eating Bing cherries in the spring. I also started drinking tart cherry juice concentrate mixed in water. I finally got some real relief!
I will still go in for hip surgery next summer, but until then, tart cherry juice is the best!
A. Tart cherries contain anthocyanin compounds that inhibit enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2 (Phytomedicine, September 2001). These enzymes are targeted by anti-inflammatory drugs like Celebrex, diclofenac and ibuprofen, so it is not surprising that cherry juice appears to alleviate pain (Behavioural Brain Research, Aug. 12, 2004).
We discuss many other natural remedies for joint pain in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. AA-2, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. I used to catch lots of colds every year. When I was tested for vitamin D a few years ago, it was really low. I took a lot of vitamin D to get into the normal range.
Since then, I’ve had only two colds, each three days long. Vitamin D made a huge difference in my immune system.
A. Research shows vitamin D is extremely important for the immune system. It helps to regulate T cells, which are important immune actors. It also turns on the gene that produces cathelicidin, a natural antimicrobial compound that fights infection (Future Microbiology, November 2009).
Since many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D because we stay out of the sun, recommendations for supplementary vitamin D may rise beyond the current RDA of 400 IU daily. Many experts believe vitamin D intake should be five to 10 times higher than that.
Q. I take several medications, so I was pleased to learn that the herb milk thistle may reduce the liver toxicity of certain drugs. I am very conscious of maintaining healthy liver function.
When purchasing the herb, however, I got confused. It is available in various strengths.
What advice can you give me A. The dosage varies depending upon the purpose for which milk thistle is being used. For general liver protection, 200 mg of an extract standardized to 80 percent silymarin (the active ingredient) is taken two or three times a day.
ConsumerLab.com recently tested milk thistle products and found that relatively few of them meet the claims on their labels. Details are available for a fee at www.consumerlab.com.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers.