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The effects of cherry juice on cardiovascular health and cognitive function
Overview

An opportunity to take part in a study investigating the benefits of cherry juice.

  • Research Participant
  • Participate

Aim

Fruit and vegetables contain bioactive compounds (phytonutrients) which are associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases and their intake is widely recommended for a number of health benefits. Previous studies have shown that cherry juice, which is rich in phytonutrients; can reduce blood pressure, modulate blood flow, improve some aspects of cognitive function and enhance exercise recovery and performance. Taken together, this suggests that there is potential for cherry juice to have a wide application in human health and ageing. There is also some evidence that midlife is a critical period for lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, to have optimal benefits and reduce the risk of age-related diseases as we grow older. Therefore, it is of great interest to establish whether a natural supplement, such as cherry juice, could reduce risk factors of chronic diseases in this target population - but little research has been carried out to date.

This study aims to determine the effects of 90 day (3 month) supplementation cherry juice on a number of risk factors of chronic diseases, primarily the structural and functional health of the blood vessels. However, because previous work suggests cherry juice could modulate blood flow we will also investigate whether this affects cognitive function or exercise capacity, which rely on blood flow to the brain and muscle, respectively.

Participants who take part in this research will help us gain a better understanding of how cherry juice effects physiological and cognitive function, and its applicability to human health and ageing.

Volunteer Criteria

We are looking to recruit healthy males aged 40-60 years.

Participants are not eligible to participate if they:

  • smoke
  • have any vascular, neurological or metabolic diseases
  • regularly take medications or food supplements
  • have known food allergies (discussed with the researcher)
  • Have gained/lost a large amount of weight in the last month or are currently aiming to do so

What will I be asked to do?

You will be required to attend the laboratory at Northumbria University on 3 separate occasions. All dates for laboratory visits will be organised with you prior, however the study schedule is as follows:

  • Week 1 -  Visit 1
  • Week 2 -  Visit 2
  • Week 14 - Visit 3

Visit 1 (Screening visit)

On the first visit you will be required to attend the laboratory and after giving consent you will be required to complete health questionnaire pertaining to your medical history, a habitual physical activity questionnaire and a food consumption questionnaire to further establish your eligibility. In addition, your stature, body mass, and BMI will be recorded. If you are eligible to participate in the study you will be habituated with the procedures where the data collection methods will be described, and you will complete the cognitive function and exercise capacity test so that these will be familiar before the testing days. Following the screening visit, if you choose to participate in the study, you will be required to attend two testing sessions.

Visit 2 and 3:

On the morning of test day 1 you will be required to collect a urine and stool sample at home in the containers provided and asked to attend the laboratory following an overnight fast and after completing a 3-day diet and exercise diary (this will be explained to you beforehand). The following measures will be taken;

  • body composition (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry )
  • non-invasive vascular function
  • blood samples
  • cognitive function
  • exercise capacity

During the intervention (3 months)

You will be given adequate juice for the entire intervention; these will be either a concentrated fruit juice or a placebo containing no active ingredient. You will be required to take 2 doses each day, one in the morning with and the other in the evening. Each dose will consist of 30 ml of the concentrate diluted in ~200 ml of water. Once you have taken a dose of fruit juice please record these on the tick sheets. Please keep any empty and unused containers. You will also receive weekly phone calls or text messages to remind you and ask you about any adverse events or any medication you may have had to take. During the intervention you are encouraged to maintain your normal diet and exercise routines, but you are asked to avoid cherries and cherry products and any nutritional supplements and limit berry fruits (including red grapes) or berry extracts/ juices and red wine to 1 portion per day- for the duration of the study. You will also be required to complete 3 questionnaires about your sleep patterns during the study, one each month.

Visit 1 should last approximately 1 hour and visits 2&3 no more than 3 hours.

When and where?

This study will be running for a year and all testing visits arranged with participants prior.

Testing will take place on the 4th floor of Northumberland building at Northumbria University.

Will I get anything for taking part?

Participants will receive a £100 Amazon voucher for taking part.

Location

  • 4th Floor Northumberland Building
  • Northumbria University, College Lane
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • NE1 8SG

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