Bright red tart cherries are anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, sleep-promoting, exercise-enhancing, and heart-healthy superfoods. In recent years, tart cherry extract has become popular as a natural sleep aid, immune system booster, and muscle recovery supplement.
In this article, we’ll delve into scientific research and examine the compelling benefits of tart cherry extract. Plus, you’ll find our list of the 11 best tart cherry supplements on the market.
For the cherry on top, we’ll answer your juicy FAQs about how tart cherry extract can optimize your well-being.
What is Tart Cherry Extract?
Tart cherry extract is a well-tolerated dietary supplement derived from the fruit of the tart cherry tree (Prunus cerasus), sometimes known as sour, dwarf, or Montmorency cherries.
Tart cherries are really sour, but it’s in the sourness that we find the benefits.
Luckily, you don’t have to kill your taste buds. Tart cherry is available as capsules, tablets, powder, and juice concentrate.
What Are the Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Supplements?
According to research (and lots of anecdotal evidence) tart cherry supplements may aid performance and recovery, heart health, and overall wellness.
The fruit is a rich source of vitamins A and C, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Plus, due to high levels of antioxidants like quercetin and anthocyanins, tart cherries neutralize unstable free radicals. This is good news because free radicals left to run wild promote premature aging, trigger inflammation, and contribute to cancers.
Resisting oxidative damage becomes more challenging with age. Luckily, this study found drinking tart cherry juice twice daily improved the antioxidant defenses of older adults.
Here’s more on the health benefits associated with tart cherry extract:
Tart cherry extract contains bioidentical melatonin – the “sleep hormone” secreted by your pineal gland to make you feel sleepy.
This study found that consuming tart cherry concentrate improved sleep duration in older adults with insomnia. Plus, research shows it may increase melatonin levels, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency (the amount of time spent sleeping versus the time spent in bed).
Unlike other sleep aids that promote dependency, tart cherry is a natural alternative. It regulates your circadian rhythm, giving your body and mind the rest and repair they need without grogginess.
Tart cherry extract may be a secret weapon for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to improve performance and reduce muscle pain.
Research on athletes found taking 480 mg of CherryPURE® (a patented tart cherry extract) for the days before and after a marathon improved physical performance and recovery. Another study on marathon runners found tart cherry juice reduced post-run muscle pain compared to a placebo.
Tart cherry may also help athletes recover by improving sleep quality and duration — as this study found.
However, we don’t suggest taking tart cherry directly pre-workout or post-workout as it may blunt some of the adaptive changes needed for muscle growth. Plus, it might make you feel a little sleepy and affect your performance!
May Support Heart Health
A diet rich in anthocyanins (like those found in tart cherries) is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
While we need more research on this topic, the evidence suggests tart cherry may be a tonic for your blood vessels and cardiovascular health.
Let’s get to the real reason you’re here: the best tart cherry supplements.
Here is our list of the 11 best tart cherry supplements.
We only selected supplements made according to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards and evaluated for potency and purity.
Overall, these products are similar. They are all sources of high-quality tart cherry extract. If you invest in any of these, you’re getting the best.
*Note: We have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you buy from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
Sports Research Tart Cherry Concentrate takes the top spot on our list for its quality, purity, and potency. It’s a third-party tested supplement made from highly concentrated CherryPURE®.
CherryPURE® is a patented tart cherry extract from organic Montmorency tart cherries grown in Michigan. It’s a potent powder that uses 50 kg of fresh cherries to make just 1 kg of extract.
Each soft gel provides a healthy 800 mg of CherryPURE®, standardized to contain 225 mcg of active anthocyanins. This brand also takes bioavailability seriously. Their vegan soft gels use organic extra virgin olive oil and organic yellow beeswax to coat the tart cherry extract and enhance absorption.
It’s certified non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains zero fillers, preservatives, or additives, making it suitable for different dietary needs.
Plus, it’s a hit with consumers, scoring 4.6 stars according to the reviews.
A bottle of 60 soft gels sells for $20.95.
Sports Research is a trusted cGMP-compliant brand in the sports nutrition industry. All products are tested by an accredited third party lab, and Sports Research Tart Cherry Extract is no exception. You can understand why it takes the #1 spot.
Performance Lab Sleep is a superb supplement designed to help you get better shut-eye thanks to a bioavailable blend of tart cherry extract, l-tryptophan, and magnesium.
Each serving of Sleep delivers 500 mg of CherryPURE® Montmorency tart cherry powder. It’s the equivalent of 25 grams of fresh tart cherries.
You also get 250 mg of TryptoPure® tryptophan and 100 mg of advanced magnesium delivered in three highly bioavailable forms. This includes their patented NutriGenesis® Magnesium, made from probiotic cultures.
Finally, the formula contains 100 mg of organic sea buckthorn fruit extract, a good source of omega-3s.
The product is gluten-free and plant-based. It uses NutriCaps® capsules made from fermented tapioca and infused with prebiotics to enhance absorption.
Performance Lab products are formulated in the UK and manufactured by Opti-Nutra Advanced Nutraceuticals, an FDA-registered US-based lab.
This product is truly one of the best. It didn’t take the #1 spot because it has a higher price tag. If you struggle with insomnia, this product is probably the best option. The company suggests taking 2-4 capsules 30 minutes before bed.
Micro Ingredients Organic Tart Cherry Powder is rich in natural melatonin and anthocyanins.
This powder-based supplement is cold-pressed from US-grown organic Montmorency tart cherries to retain flavor, color, and nutrients. One serving of the flavorful powder gives you 2,000 mg of organic tart cherry powder – the equivalent of 100 fresh tart cherries. They also claim that one scoop contains as much tart cherry concentrate as 9 capsules of other tart cherry supplements.
We suggest mixing it with water, juice, smoothies, or protein shakes. As a bonus, the bright color is a fun way to jazz up your smoothie bowl.
Micro Ingredients is committed to producing the best USDA-certified organic single-ingredient powders. All products are guaranteed raw, non-GMO, non-irradiated, and free from preservatives, artificial colors, additives, and sweeteners. Plus, the third-party test results are available to anyone who wants to see them.
BulkSupplements Tart Cherry Extract is ideal if you’re looking for options. It comes in powder and capsules.
A bottle of 240 300 mg tart cherry capsules costs just $13.96.
If you prefer powder, it’s available in different sizes, ranging from 100 grams to 25 kgs (if you’re stocking up for the apocalypse). Each serving (⅕ teaspoon) offers 500 mg of tart cherry extract in a 10:1 ratio.
This product is vegan-friendly and free from added sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives.
BulkSupplements manufacture products in cGMP facilities that are NSF and FDA-certified. In addition, all products are tested by US-based independent labs before they go to market.
Nature’s Truth has a potent tart cherry extract supplement. Each capsule contains 1200 mg of non-GMO tart cherry extract in a 10:1 concentration ratio. Plus, quick-release capsules ensure the tart cherry extract is absorbed quickly.
It’s vegan and contains no gluten, yeast, milk, lactose, soy, artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
Nature’s Truth uses TRU-ID, an independent DNA testing technology that certifies the authenticity and potency of each ingredient.
Zhou Nutrition has a great formula that claims to support joint health and comfort in athletes and those with joint pain from gout.
Each 2-capsule serving contains 1000 mg of potent tart cherry extract (standardized for 0.8% anthocyanins). Plus, 240 mg of celery seed extract aids tart cherry extract in clearing uric acid crystals from the body for joint support.
The capsules are vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and free from soy, milk, gluten, shellfish, and preservatives. That said, they contain maltodextrin from non-GMO corn, which may not be suitable for people on a sugar-free diet.
Zhou Nutrition is a cGMP-compliant company prioritizing transparency, quality, and customer satisfaction. All products are lab-verified for purity and potency. You can trust you’re getting the real deal with this brand.
NOW Tart Cherry delivers 500 mg of non-GMO tart cherry concentrate per easy-to-swallow veggie capsule. It is a potent product with a 50:1 concentration ratio. However, they don’t state whether the formula contains a certain level of anthocyanins.
You can grab a bottle of 90 vegetable capsules for a great price on iHerb.
Overall, this product gives you bang for your buck, and you can double up on the capsules if you want a higher dose.
Life Extension is a trusted brand with 35 years of experience producing high-quality supplements backed by clinical data. Their Tart Cherry Extract offers 480 mg of patented CherryPURE® tart cherry powder per capsule.
One bottle contains 60 vegetarian capsules, which should last 1-2 months, depending on the dose.
Nature’s Way Tart Cherry Extract is a highly concentrated product from premium-quality Montmorency tart cherries grown and harvested in the USA.
You get 1200 mg of extract in every serving. However, a serving is 3 capsules, which may not suit all users.
A bottle of 90 veggie capsules will last one month if you take the recommended dose.
I LOVE fruity soft chews. If you’re like me, you’ll dig the tart cherry chews from Force Factor® Fundamentals.
One fruity chew provides 500 mg of tart cherry extract. They are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. However, the chews contain raw cane sugar and may be unsuitable for diabetics or those on a Keto diet. But these tart cherry gummies taste pretty good.
This list isn’t complete without a tasty juice concentrate option.
Country Spoon has premium-quality tart cherry juice made from Montmorency cherries grown and harvested in Utah at high altitudes. An ounce of Country Spoon tart cherry juice concentrate contains 60-70 tart cherries.
The ideal dosage is 2-4 tablespoons of concentrate added to water, fruit juice, tea, smoothies, or protein shakes. Some people also swear by pouring it over waffles and pancakes!
A 34-ounce bottle costs $24.98 – and should last one month if you take two tablespoons daily.
We ranked these products, but we want you to decide on the best product for your needs. To do that, you should understand what factors we considered when researching the best tart cherry supplement.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements as it does pharmaceuticals.
For this reason, we list reputable companies known for producing high-quality supplements. They adhere to cGMP regulations, and the majority use independent testing to confirm purity and levels of active compounds.
These products contain the best quality tart cherry extract without artificial colors, flavors, additives, sweeteners, and gluten.
We chose supplements offering 500-2000 mg of tart cherry extract per serving. This is therapeutic and safe.
However, some products have higher concentration ratios, meaning you can take a lower dose and still consume the same (if not higher) levels of active compounds.
While price shouldn’t be the only factor you consider, improving your wellness shouldn’t put you out of pocket.
We weighed the cost of each product against the number of servings, dose per serving, potency, and overall quality to decide which supplements are the best value.
Tart Cherry Supplement FAQs
Inflammation is a natural process necessary for immunity and tissue repair. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it may lead to degenerative diseases like arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
Antioxidant-rich tart cherries may keep chronic inflammation under control. Studies show tart cherry extract reduces inflammatory biomarkers in those with painful osteoarthritis.
Tart cherry extract is not a treatment or cure for any health condition. That said, tart cherry may support joint health and reduce gout pain.
A 2018 systematic review of a bunch of studies found tart cherry resulted in fewer gout flare-ups. It may work by lowering uric acid levels and stopping the crystals from building up in the joints. However, the research is shaky, and we need long-term follow-up studies.
Zhou Nutrition Tart Cherry Extract may be the best product for people with gout as it contains celery seed extract.
Tart cherry extract is available in various forms, including capsules, powder, and juice. However, the best way to consume tart cherry extract depends on your preferences and needs.
As a general rule, most brands recommend taking tart cherry supplements with a meal.
You may also see tart cherry as an ingredient is some of the best greens powders.
The ideal dosage of tart cherry extract ranges from 500-2500 mg per day.
That said, the recommended dosage may vary depending on the strength. Always read the product label or ask your healthcare provider to determine the right dose.
The “best” form of tart cherry extract is the one that suits your individual preferences and needs.
We’ve included capsules, powder, and juice concentrate on our list so you can find something that works for you. That said, capsules dominate the list because it’s the easiest way to get a standardized dose of tart cherry extract.
If you take high-quality products, they all produce similar results.
The best time to take tart cherry extract is in the evening, with or without food. If you want to support healthy sleep, take it 30 minutes before bed.
However, it also depends on why you’re taking it. For example, athletes who want to recover quickly after a race or match may benefit from taking tart cherry extract immediately after the last event.
In general, tart cherry extract is safe when taken at the recommended dose. But everyone is different, so consult with a healthcare provider before taking tart cherry extract if you have any underlying medical conditions.
In addition, tart cherry may interact with certain medications like blood thinners and diabetes medication. If you’re on chronic medication, tread carefully and never take any new supplement without your doctor’s permission.
Side effects from tart cherry extract (when taken at the suggested dose) are rare. That said, some people may experience an upset stomach. If you notice any side effects when taking tart cherry extract, stop taking the supplement and contact your healthcare professional.
Please consult your healthcare provider before taking new supplements to ensure they are safe and appropriate. This is especially important if you’re on chronic medication.
Whether tart cherry extract is worth taking depends on your health goals. As a rich source of antioxidants, it may protect your cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage. Existing research also links tart cherry to better sleep quality, physical recovery, and cardiovascular health.
That said, a whole-food diet, regular exercise, time outdoors, good sleep hygiene, and stress management should come before you turn to supplements.
If you choose to add tart cherry to your routine, a product from a reputable brand is essential. Our list of the 11 best tart cherry extract supplements is the ideal place to start. We’ve got you covered with rigorously tested supplements rich in active anthocyanins.