You might wonder why you see cherry juice at triathlons and other endurance sports.

This small study in the June 2006 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at whether a tart cherry juice blend might help recovery from vigorous exercise.  The study was funded by a product company but starts by reviewing the literature and noting numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents have been identified in tart cherries.

It was a small study but it found that that strength loss and pain were significantly less in the cherry juice trial versus placebo (time by treatment: strength p<0.0001, pain p  =  0.017). and concluded that the data show efficacy for cherry juice in decreasing some of the symptoms of exercise induced muscle damage. Most notably, strength loss averaged over the four days after eccentric exercise was 22% with the placebo but only 4% with the cherry juice.

So should you drink cherry juice and how much?  Consensus from articles say 2-4 ounces is enough and often times they blend it into a 12 ounce cocktail.

Source: Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage — Connolly et al. 40 (8): 679 — British Journal of Sports Medicine