I’m taking Advil as needed.” A common phrase I hear from my patients. I typically have them define “as needed.”
To which my follow up question is, “Well how often is as needed?” For some, this could mean one pill once a day, while others are every other day. My patient’s answers usually vary; however, there’s a typical theme amongst their answers. What once started as occasional use has transformed into months on end. Before you realize, you’re frequently adding a bottle of pills to your grocery list. It’s not long before that grocery list is filled other new additions, including TUMS or other antacids.
It’s well known that anti-inflammatories can wreak havoc on your stomach. The same mechanisms which allow anti-inflammatories to decrease pain throughout the body also suppresses mucus production in the gut. The result is a night of heart burn interrupting your sleep more than your joint pain.
What if you could scrap the meds for something more natural?
Recently a surge of information on the positive effects tart cherry juice and supplements have clinicians replacing their pill boxes with juice glasses. Tart cherry juice has been found to decrease the effect of muscle damage (decreased strength and inflammation) following exercise (1). How does that affect you? Less inflammation equates to decreased pain. The positive effects not only benefit elite athletes training daily. Even people looking to tolerate gardening or daily walks can feel the difference.
When added as a regular part of your diet cherries have shown to decrease inflammation throughout the body. One study indicated only four weeks of daily cherry consumption (about 50 cherries worth) posed a significant decrease in risk of chronic diseases. The benefits are widespread. Patients suffering from arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension all reaped the benefits of consuming cherries.
Still not convinced cherries are the new super fruit? Even just two days of cherry consumption decreased the likelihood of a gout attack by 35% (3). Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that affects nearly 8.3 million adults in the United States. When gout sufferers combined their gout medication and cherry consumption the attack incidence was an astounding 75% less.
What is the down side?
For most, there’s a ton of upside (decreased inflammation/less pain) with nearly no downside. After all, they’re just cherries, nature’s “NSAID”. While I am certainly not suggesting altering any medications; new evidence indicates cherry juice may significantly decrease the prevalence of chronic diseases. This includes the amount of medication required to manage damaging effects of disease. With less medication comes less side effects and less health care costs; something to keep in mind the next time you are walking the isles of the grocery store.
Connolly, D. A., M. P. McHugh, and O. I. Padilla-Zakour. “Efficacy of Tart
Cherry Juice Blend in Preventing Symptoms of Muscle Damage.”Journal Of
Sports Medicine 40 (2006): 679-83. Web.
Kelley, Darshan, Yuriko Adkins, Aurosis Reddy, Leslie Woodhouse, Bruce
Mackey, and Kent Erikson. “Sweet Bing Cherries Lower
CirculatingConcentrations of Markers for ChronicInflammatory Diseases in
Healthy Humans.” The Journal Of Nutrition 143 (2014): 340-44. Web.
Zhang, Yuqing, 1Tuhina Neogi, Clara Chen, Christine Chaisson, David
Hunter, and Hyon Choi. “CHerry Consuption and Decreased RIsk of Recurent
Gout Attacks.” ARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISM 64.12 (2012): 4004-011. Web.