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Concentrated Fruit Juices and Reduction in Pain and Improvements in Range of Motion



Posted in..: Research & Development
By Chad Kerksick, PhD
Dec 23, 2011
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Experiencing pain is a significant problem which afflicts millions of people worldwide on a daily basis. Research involving inflammation, arthritis and joint health continues at unprecedented levels, particularly as the age of our population continues to climb.  Maintaining an active lifestyle can help to offset the reductions in strength, flexibility, and mobility which take hold of our bodies as we become older.  Many foods and nutrients are suggested to have specific abilities to improve these outcomes. Various fruits, which are known to contain varying levels of key nutrients, are often discussed in this regard. 
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The Acai fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and its pulp are known to contain elevated levels of various polyphenols. In addition, a number of other fruits and berries (pomegranate, passion fruit, bilberry, wolfberry, kiwi, purple grapes, blueberries, etc.) are also suggested to exhibit similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  To examine the impact of a liquid mixture of similar fruits and berries for its ability to positively impact pain, inflammation, antioxidant status and range of motion, fourteen middle-aged participants over a twelve week period ingested a juice preparation on a daily basis in an open-label manner (Jensen 2011).  All participants consumed four ounces of the fruit preparation for a period of twelve weeks and were measured on five occasions for various measures of pain, range of motion, inflammation and antioxidant status.   Juice ingestion was found to significantly reduce pain, improve the range of motion and also cause improvements in a number of areas of daily living.  In addition, the antioxidant status in the blood of the participants was significantly improved after two weeks and remained improved through the entire twelve weeks of the study.  A commonly accepted marker of inflammation, c-reactive protein, was reduced after twelve weeks, although the improvement was not considered statistically significant.  Additionally, the positive changes in antioxidant status appeared to be best related to the improvements seen in physical well-being.  The results from the pilot data are encouraging, however, the open-label design of this study and the lack of any statistical comparison to a placebo group make complete interpretation of the data challenging.  The authors raised a good point in the discussion whereby fruits, juices, and other foods which contain a wide array of nutrients offer unique perspective when studying their ability on antioxidant or any other function in the body when compared to results from single-nutrient studies.  Regardless, preliminary results from this study suggest a blend of fruits and berries may offer relief from pain, inflammation, and improvements in range of motion and function.



References:

Jensen, GS, Ager, DM, Redman, KA, Mitzner, MA, Benson, KF and Schauss, AG (2011). "Pain reduction and improvement in range of motion after daily consumption of an acai (euterpe oleracea mart.) pulp-fortified polyphenolic-rich fruit and berry juice blend." J Med Food 14(7-8): 702-711.





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