Montmorency cherry supplementation improves 15-km cycling time-trial performance


Aim: Montmorency cherries are rich in polyphenols that possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vasoactive properties. We investigated whether 7-day Montmorency cherry powder supplementation improved cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: 8 trained male cyclists (V˙ O 2 peak : 62.3 ± 10.1 ml kg −1  min −1 ) completed 10-min steady-state (SS) cycling at $∼$ 65% V˙ O 2 peak followed by a 15-km TT on two occasions. Participants consumed 6 pills per day (Montmorency cherry powder, MC; anthocyanin 257 mg day −1 or dextrose powder, PL) for a 7-day period, 3 pills in the morning and evening. Capillary blood [lactate] was measured at baseline, post SS and post TT. Pulmonary gas exchange and tissue oxygenation index (TOI) of m. vastus lateralis via near-infrared spectroscopy, were measured throughout. Results: TT completion time was 4.6 ± 2.9% faster following MC (1506 ± 86 s) supplementation compared to PL (1580 ± 102 s; P = 0.004). Blood [lactate] was significantly higher in MC after SS (PL: 4.4 ± 2.1 vs. MC: 6.7 ± 3.3 mM, P = 0.017) alongside an elevated baseline TOI (PL: 68.7 ± 2.1 vs. MC: 70.4 ± 2.3%, P = 0.018). Discussion: Montmorency cherry supplementation improved 15-km cycling TT performance. This improvement in exercise performance was accompanied by enhanced muscle oxygenation suggesting that the vasoactive properties of the Montmorency cherry polyphenols may underpin the ergogenic effects.

European Journal of Applied Physiology