~ Bing Cherries Lower Inflammatory Markers

The April, 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutrition published the findings of researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that consuming Bing sweet cherries on a regular basis is appears to lower some inflammatory markers in men and women.

Researchers at the USDA's Western Human Nutrition Research Center in California and the University of California, Davis, enrolled eighteen healthy men and women for the current study. During a baseline period of eight days, the participants' blood was analyzed for the inflammatory markers serum C-reactive protein (CRP), plasma interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, as well as plasma concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) and 42 inflammatory cytokines, receptors, growth factors, chemokines and adhesion markers.

Additionally, total, VLDL, LDL and HDL cholesterol and subfractions as well as triglycerides were measured. The subjects were instructed to consume 280 grams Bing cherries per day for 28 days, during which blood samples were taken after two and four weeks and analyzed for the above factors. An additional blood sample was drawn and analyzed four weeks after the study's conclusion.

After one month of cherry consumption, C-reactive protein levels decreased by an average of 25 percent. The chemokines known as RANTES, and nitric oxide levels were also reduced. This effect continued for another month for RANTES, with levels decreasing even further to 36 percent below that of pre-study levels. Interleukin-6 and plasma lipid levels did not change during the study.

"Reduction in plasma CRP by cherries can be viewed as a reduction in inflammation that may affect the risk for CVD," the authors write. "This is supported by the simultaneous reductions in the ciruclating concentrations of NO and RANTES."

They note, "Because fresh cherries have limited availability, studies with cherry juice, canned cherries, cherry powder, or other fruits with similar phytochemical profile may be useful."

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