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Tart cherry: Only miniscule amounts of melatonin


Altostrata
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I researched tart cherry extract for sleep. In my opinion, it contains a negligible amount of melatonin. The relaxing effects some people feel are probably from its high content of anthocyanin, an anti-inflammatory. (There is also quite a bit of sugar in it.)

Here is the one paper upon which ALL claims of melatonin in cherries depend: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf010321%2B http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11600041

J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Oct;49(10):4898-902.
Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus).
Burkhardt S1, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJ.[
 
Abstract

The antioxidant melatonin was recently identified in a variety of edible plants and seeds in high concentrations. In plants, as in animals, melatonin is believed to function as a free radical scavenger and possibly in photoperiodism. In this study, melatonin was detected and quantified in fresh-frozen Balaton and Montmorency tart cherries (Prunus cerasus) using high-performance liquid chromatography. Both cherry species contain high levels of melatonin compared to the melatonin concentrations in the blood of mammals. Montmorency cherries (13.46 +/- 1.10 ng/g) contain approximately 6 times more melatonin than do Balaton cherries (2.06 +/- 0.17 ng/g). Neither the orchard of origin nor the time of harvest influenced the amount of melatonin in fresh cherries. The implication of the current findings is that consuming cherries could be an important source of dietary melatonin inasmuch as melatonin is readily absorbed when taken orally. Also, previously published data and the results presented here show that melatonin is not only endogenously produced but also present in the diet.

 
This paper was sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute and says flash-frozen Montmorency cherries contain about 12-15 nanograms melatonin per gram of cherries (1 nanogram = 0.001 micrograms; 1 microgram = 0.001 milligram; 1 nanogram = 1000 picograms). This amounts to .012-.015 milligrams (mg) melatonin per 1000 grams or kilogram, which is one heck of a lot of cherries and a very teeny amount of melatonin relative to what you might take in a melatonin tablet.

(You can find a lot of things using high-performance liquid chromatography that otherwise might be undetectable.)

There is no evidence that the melatonin is concentrated in cherry juice. Its highest concentration may be in the skin or in the pulp.
 
Also, the claim that tart cherries contain a high amount of melatonin compared to that found in the blood of mammals is of dubious value. It could be that the level of melatonin in the brain, not in the blood, is crucial to sleep.

Tart cherries contain a lot of melatonin for a fruit. The relationship between cherries and melatonin has been inflated to sell supplements. It's too bad this happens, but it does, and that's why I double-check any supplement claims.

(Capitalizing on the marketing, supplement manufacturers sell tart cherry products at very high prices. Immunotec, manufacturer of Immunocal and milk peptides, is one of them. If you want to try tart cherry extract, Swanson Vitamins carries it at a relatively reasonable price. You can get dried Montmorency cherries in a plastic package at Trader Joe's.)
 
Also see http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-03-19-cherry-warnings_x.htm
 

Cherry industry chafes at FDA warnings
USA Today 3/19/2006
....
The industry is marketing cherries as health food, trumpeting research showing they contain helpful anti-oxidants, along with testimonials from buyers like Robbins. At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered 29 companies to stop making unproven claims that their cherry products treat or prevent disease.
....
Since receiving FDA letters last fall, some cherry product producers have removed — or at least reworded — their health benefit statements. But others still make the connection, and an industry group is continuing a promotional campaign telling consumers that cherries are good for them.
....
The FDA told the 29 companies that by claiming their products could prevent, treat or cure disease, they were in effect calling them drugs, which are covered by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. New drugs require FDA approval and testing to confirm safety and effectiveness.
 
"If somebody is using a product that is unproven for health benefits, they may be forgoing other treatments that they would need," said Jennifer Thomas, consumer safety officer with the agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "We're concerned that consumers not get the wrong message and use products that may not have the benefits they believe they would have."
....
Studies funded partly by the industry and the USDA detected anti-oxidants in cherries, including anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for a fruit's color. University of Iowa scientists documented the presence of perillyl alcohol.
 
Russel J. Reiter, who found that cherries have high levels of melatonin, an anti-oxidant believed to improve sleep patterns, thinks it's fair to tell consumers that cherries contain anti-oxidants. But he says explicitly linking any food to a specific disease is going too far without clinical proof.
 
"No one has given cherry products to a group of individuals with gout in a controlled, clinical study and showed it can be used to treat or cure gout," said Reiter, of the University of Texas Health Science Center.
....

 
And see http://mobile.nutraingredients-usa.com/Suppliers2/Cherries-get-promotional-plumping#.VKXuUqaDqGsfrom a food industry Web site
 

Cherries Get Promotional Plumping
05-Feb-2007 By Clarisse Douaud
....
Funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors, the Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) has taken on Jeff Manning - the man behind the milk campaign phase, "Got milk?" - to give its cherries healthier relevance for consumers.
 
The cherry industry's efforts to push forward cherries into the health arena were hampered previously when the United States Food & Drug Administration issued a warning over health claims it was making.
 
In October 2005 the federal agency sent warning letters to 29 companies it said made unsubstantiated health claims on their websites and labels for products containing cherries.
 
The most common claims made on the companies' websites were that cherries contain potent anticancer agents, can relieve pain of gout or arthritis, and are beneficial for heart health.
....
Areas of research include heart health, melatonin content, cancer risk reduction, diabetes, and inflammation.
....
CMI cites research behind Montmorency tart cherries that points to their high ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) values.
 
A number of studies suggest health benefits in cherries. These include the work of Russel Reiter and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Center, who detected high levels of the anti-oxidant melatonin, understood to function as a free-radical scavenger, in tart cherries.
....

 

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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  • 9 months later...

This was an extremely informative post, and quite interesting.  I've been reading about people who SWEAR by tart cherry on facebook groups and other places dedicated to withdrawal - but after reading this article and  your points I am dissuaded.

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I'm taking a Tart Cherry capsule once a day. My reason for using it wasn't sleep, as that is not an issue for me most of the time. It has reduced inflammation for me, meaning less joint/arthritis and muscle pain. For me though, this is a major component of sleep. Being in pain has woken me through WD, and made it harder to get back to sleep at times.

 

The other main thing I've noticed from taking it is a much faster recovery from exercise. Through WD, I've had more times of finding that overdoing even in small amounts in exercise would lead to overall fibromyalgia type of pain..and also, the pain would lead to feeling like my nervous system was overstimulated. Now, those things happen very rarely and if they do, to a far lesser degree than before I started the supplement. I'm able to do a 2 hour bicycle ride with virtually no repercussions. Of course though, tart cherry isn't the only thing I'm doing..it's 1 of the 100 things.

 

If you take a capsule, it contains no sugar..unlike drinking the juice or concentrate. Since I have diabetes, that's a definite issue for me...but in small amounts, the juice did not raise my blood sugar.

 

A couple of studies regarding tart cherry, sleep, and pain:

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-04/wsw-st042814.php

http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/about/news_events/news/2010/2010-07-07-tart-cherry-juice-r.cfm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133468/

 

Personally, I've found research to be an extremely poor predictor of how something will work for me. This has always been true, although more so in WD. Nearly everything that has been shown to balance or lower blood sugar raises mine for example. Things that help other people for sleep make me feel like I've had 100 cups of coffee. I'm more interested in hearing how supplements or other things have been for people in WD...because that's more likely to be relevant to me than a piece of research is. But the bottom line is listening to my own body over any external source.

Remeron for depression. Started at 7.5 mg. in 2005. Gradual increases over 8 years, up to 45 mg. in 2012.Began tapering in June 2013. Went from 45 to 30 mg in the first 3-4 months. Held for a couple of months.Started tapering by 3.75 mg every month or 2, with some longer holding periods. Eventually went down to 3.75 mg. about April 2014. Stopped taking Remeron August 2014. Developed issues with histamine a week after stopping--symptoms reduced through diet and a few supplements. Currently having issues with a few foods. Most of the histamine intolerance has resolved or is at least, in remission.

Current Medications:

Current Supplements: Cannabis (CBD and THC), Vitamin C, D, Quercetin, CoQ10, Tart Cherry, Probiotic, Phytoplankton oil, magnesium, Methyl B. What has helped me most: spending time in nature, qi gong, exercise, healthy diet, meditation, IV vitamins, homeopathy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, music, and cuddling my cats..

My introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8459-mirtazapine-withdrawal-freespirit/#entry144282

Please note: I am not a therapist or medical practitioner. Any suggestions offered come solely from my personal experience in recovering from childhood trauma, therapy, and AD use. Please seek appropriate care for yourself.

 

“After a cruel childhood, one must reinvent oneself. Then re-imagine the world.”
Mary Oliver
 

 

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  • 11 months later...

I had 8 oz for two days. Slept better than with lunesta. But having headaches and neck muscle tightness and itching on mu body. Is this some kind of weird withdrawal reaction to anthocyanins and melatonin in the cherry juice or is it my own withdrawal changing. I will try not doing the juice for a few days. If the symptoms persist i will go back to using the juice but if they go away i will stop.

Update 8122017

Zoloft  2004. Effexor 2004-2006. Paxil 20 mg for 2006-2010. Ct 2010, bad effects back on, stable by 2011.  Poopout June 2015. Zoloft with paxil for a while, stopped Zoloft.

Sep 2016 paxil 16.2 mg alone(295 mg pill weight). Started tapering 11/14/2016.

Took off 1 mg pill weight(total pill weight of 20 mg = 365 mg and 16 mg is 295 mg). Went down 1 mg per week of pill weight so down to 291 mg by end of November. Starting getting anxiety issues starting since 12/10/2016. Hoping that a faster taper will help.

12/14/2016 - 15.95 mg (291 mg pill weight)

12/16/2016 -  15.83 mg (289 mg pill weight)

12/23/2016 -  15.67 (286 mg pill weight)

8/12/2017 -  15.34 (280 mg pill weight)

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  • 3 months later...

Anybody have success with Tart Cherry Juice for improving sleep? And are there any known interactions with ssri's or benzos? After having an unpleasant interaction with pomegranate juice, I'm cautious with even natural products. Appreciate any feedback, thanks! 

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Anybody have success with Tart Cherry Juice for improving sleep? And are there any known interactions with ssri's or benzos? After having an unpleasant interaction with pomegranate juice, I'm cautious with even natural products. Appreciate any feedback, thanks! 

I had success with Tart Cherry, i take a pill every night which contains .5 melatonin which is enough to put me to sleep and also feel less pain, that is actually the only thing that help me sleep since I started WD without any issues. 

2006-2013 Zoloft prescribed for one panic attack 25 mg - 100 mg

05/2013 extreme anxiety prescribed Klonopin 1 mg per day took only as needed

08/2013 Panic attacks with anxiety; increased to 150 mg Zoloft / prescribed Wellbutrin also dont remember dose

10/2015 Zoloft changed manufacturers and Symptons of WD started, brain zaps, chest pains, memory problems, burning skin, achy feet & hands,

06/2016 Quit Zoloft; 

07/2016 Quit Job, couldn't handle vertigo, commuting and brain zaps

08/2016 Tried re-stating Zoloft  50 mg Bad Reaction

09/2016 Tried Paxil 20 mg (9 days bad reaction) Lexapro (7 days  bad reaction) Effexor 37.5 mg (bad reaction)

11/2016 Tried Zoloft 50 mg no luck.

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Anybody have success with Tart Cherry Juice for improving sleep? And are there any known interactions with ssri's or benzos? After having an unpleasant interaction with pomegranate juice, I'm cautious with even natural products. Appreciate any feedback, thanks! 

I had success with Tart Cherry, i take a pill every night which contains .5 melatonin which is enough to put me to sleep and also feel less pain, that is actually the only thing that help me sleep since I started WD without any issues. 

 

Thanks for your reply! Just out of curiosity: what medications are you taking? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I've been taking a tart cherry supplement for about two weeks and it's really helped me fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. Plus, when I wake up, I tend to feel more refreshed and get out of bed much more quickly than I had been and I feel as though my mood has improved as well. Note: I take Tart Cherry Concentrate, from Sports Research. And no, I don't work for that company or anything--I just get really pumped when a supplement actually does what it says it will and it's natural to boot. Win win  :)

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  • 2 years later...

@Altostrata or anyone else would you take these at nightfall just like melatonin? Or a couple hrs before bed? 
 

I can’t get access to melatonin here so will give these a try. 

I can’t remember exact dates but:

 

I CT’d 20mg fluoxitine in Aug 2019. I thought to myself well I might as well come off mirtzapine. 10 years on this drug.

 

I CT’d 15mg Mirtzapine in Sept 2019. 2 years on this drug.

 

Insomnia started in Oct 2019 but I took no notice of it. I panicked in Dec 2019 as it became worse and of course never left. Hoping I I would get my

sleep back I reinstated mirtzapine hoping may sleep would come back in Dec 2019  at 7.5mg for a few days then 15mg for a few days then

stabilised at 7.5mg when I found SA. 

 

Since then I have experienced bloating which I have never had before, and a ectopic heart beat. Im exhausted and can't even think, speak or retain what people are saying to me anymore. I used to speak so intellectually and now I can't even get words out. 

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Also how many do I take? 

I can’t remember exact dates but:

 

I CT’d 20mg fluoxitine in Aug 2019. I thought to myself well I might as well come off mirtzapine. 10 years on this drug.

 

I CT’d 15mg Mirtzapine in Sept 2019. 2 years on this drug.

 

Insomnia started in Oct 2019 but I took no notice of it. I panicked in Dec 2019 as it became worse and of course never left. Hoping I I would get my

sleep back I reinstated mirtzapine hoping may sleep would come back in Dec 2019  at 7.5mg for a few days then 15mg for a few days then

stabilised at 7.5mg when I found SA. 

 

Since then I have experienced bloating which I have never had before, and a ectopic heart beat. Im exhausted and can't even think, speak or retain what people are saying to me anymore. I used to speak so intellectually and now I can't even get words out. 

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The brand I use, sports research, recommends 1 pill in the morning and 1 at night. I skip the morning, though. And I take it about half an hour before I sleep and it helps me sleep more deeply. But I tend to have very vivid dreams on it, including an awful nightmare involving past trauma, so I've shied away from it lately. Definitely works, though. Also, I would rather take a food based product than synthetic melatonin. 

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16 hours ago, Bluesjunky76 said:

The brand I use, sports research, recommends 1 pill in the morning and 1 at night. I skip the morning, though. And I take it about half an hour before I sleep and it helps me sleep more deeply. But I tend to have very vivid dreams on it, including an awful nightmare involving past trauma, so I've shied away from it lately. Definitely works, though. Also, I would rather take a food based product than synthetic melatonin. 

Thanks for your reply. So are you just taking the 1 at night? Glad to hear it works. 

I can’t remember exact dates but:

 

I CT’d 20mg fluoxitine in Aug 2019. I thought to myself well I might as well come off mirtzapine. 10 years on this drug.

 

I CT’d 15mg Mirtzapine in Sept 2019. 2 years on this drug.

 

Insomnia started in Oct 2019 but I took no notice of it. I panicked in Dec 2019 as it became worse and of course never left. Hoping I I would get my

sleep back I reinstated mirtzapine hoping may sleep would come back in Dec 2019  at 7.5mg for a few days then 15mg for a few days then

stabilised at 7.5mg when I found SA. 

 

Since then I have experienced bloating which I have never had before, and a ectopic heart beat. Im exhausted and can't even think, speak or retain what people are saying to me anymore. I used to speak so intellectually and now I can't even get words out. 

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Do you remember if you took 2 at night?

I can’t remember exact dates but:

 

I CT’d 20mg fluoxitine in Aug 2019. I thought to myself well I might as well come off mirtzapine. 10 years on this drug.

 

I CT’d 15mg Mirtzapine in Sept 2019. 2 years on this drug.

 

Insomnia started in Oct 2019 but I took no notice of it. I panicked in Dec 2019 as it became worse and of course never left. Hoping I I would get my

sleep back I reinstated mirtzapine hoping may sleep would come back in Dec 2019  at 7.5mg for a few days then 15mg for a few days then

stabilised at 7.5mg when I found SA. 

 

Since then I have experienced bloating which I have never had before, and a ectopic heart beat. Im exhausted and can't even think, speak or retain what people are saying to me anymore. I used to speak so intellectually and now I can't even get words out. 

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