Unofficially, I'm starting a little series called "Supplement Sunday," after realizing that last week's melatonin review was only the first of many supplements I've been testing over the past few months. If there's enough interest, this might blossom into a blogger linkup, but let's take it a day at a time, shall we?
Today's Sunday Supplement is tart cherry extract from Swanson Health. I first encountered tart cherry last fall in the Foxy Box I reviewed; I received a package of soft chews that were advertised as joint pain reducers. Having severe joint pain, I gave them a try despite my skepticism and quickly noticed that my shoulders and knees (the worst of the joint aches) were almost pain-free, almost all the time. Unfortunately I didn't have enough chews to sufficiently test long-term, and set about finding something else to try.
Disclaimer: I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions herein are my own.
Tart cherries are apparently one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can find - who knew? In fact, tart cherry mimics ibuprofen, but usually without side effects. I've never been a fan of taking even ibuprofen regularly, as I prefer to go as drug-free as possible, but tart cherry is natural and far more comfortable (for me) to add to my daily intake. Because tart cherries have a short growing season, it's easier to consume their benefits through extracts such as chews and powders. Additionally, the cherries have antioxidants that help the body fight disease and toxins, and there's even a bit of melatonin in them to help regulate the body's natural rhythms. Tart cherries are a pretty serious package!
The early results I'd seen with my sample chews carried over nicely with the extract capsules. I have been taking tart cherry extract daily for a couple months now, and have honestly been amazed at how much improvement I have seen in my day-to-day joint pain. Sure, I'll still occasionally have a little soreness after a particularly tough workout, but the pain is much less severe and goes away more quickly. Long term joint pain, the kind of dull achy awful feeling that follows you around through all your normal routines, is almost completely gone. Fortunately I received enough of the capsules to keep this trend going for another few months before I have to restock!
My only complaint about these capsules is the size (and maybe the coating). Just like the melatonin capsules I reviewed last week, the tart cherry extract has a bad habit of getting stuck in my throat, no matter how much water I drink. The best solution seems to be taking the capsule just before eating something, as the food tends to help move the capsule all the way down. It's an easy enough accommodation to make for the cherry, as I can take that any time during the day; it was definitely more of an inconvenience for the melatonin that needed to be taken at bedtime. Still, it would be nice to not have to worry about choking on the capsule...
Tart cherry is going on my list of must-haves. I've abused my body for a long time, and the aches are everywhere. Any product that can keep me so close to pain free for months at a time earns my favor and is certainly worth the expense. Everyday mobility is not always a guarantee, and being able to mitigate the pain with a natural substance is a big victory for me. My next purchase might be chews again, though, considering my difficulties with the capsules, but someone more accustomed to taking pills might not have the same issues. If you struggle with joint pain, at the very least give tart cherry a try!
How do you typically handle your day to day joint pain? Do you prefer chewables over capsules? What other supplements are you interested in hearing more about?