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Pilot Study of the Tart Cherry Juice for the Treatment of Insomnia and Investigation of Mechanisms

PainSci » bibliography » Losso et al 2018
Tags: sleep, nutrition, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Losso 2018: Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements for Pain & Healing

PainSci commentary on Losso 2018: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

A pilot study with 8 subjects. Microscopic! Powerless to actually prove anything. But, for what very little it's worth… technically positive, showing a decent boost to sleep duration (and nothing else they measured).

~ Paul Ingraham

Common issues and characteristics relevant to this paper: ?Scientific papers have many common characteristics, flaws, and limitations, and many of these are rarely or never acknowledged in the paper itself, or even by other reviewers. I have reviewed thousands of papers, and described many of these issues literally hundreds of times. Eventually I got sick of repeating myself, and so now I just refer to a list common characteristics, especially flaws. Not every single one of them applies perfectly to every paper, but if something is listed here, it is relevant in some way. Note that in the case of reviews, the issue may apply to the science being reviewed, and not the review itself.

  1. Risk of inadequate statistical power.
  2. Damned with faint praise — technically positive results (at least partially) that don’t actually impress.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Insomnia is common in the elderly and is associated with chronic disease, but use of hypnotics increases the incidence of falls. Montmorency tart cherry juice has improved insomnia by self-report questionnaire. STUDY QUESTION: Is insomnia confirmed by polysomnography and is tryptophan availability a potential mechanism for treating insomnia? STUDY DESIGN: A placebo-controlled balanced crossover study with subjects older than 50 years and insomnia were randomized to placebo (2 weeks) or cherry juice (2 weeks) (240 mL 2 times/d) separated by a 2-week washout. MEASURES AND OUTCOMES: Sleep was evaluated by polysomnography and 5 validated questionnaires. Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio, and prostaglandin E2 were measured. In vitro, Caco-2 cells were stimulated with interferon-gamma, and the ability of cherry juice procyanidin to inhibit IDO which degrades tryptophan and stimulates inflammation was measured. The content of procyanidin B-2 and other major anthocyanins in cherry juice were determined. RESULTS: Eleven subjects were randomized; 3 with sleep apnea were excluded and referred. The 8 completers with insomnia increased sleep time by 84 minutes on polysomnography (P = 0.0182) and sleep efficiency increased on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (P = 0.03). Other questionnaires showed no significant differences. The serum kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio decreased, as did the level of prostaglandin E2 (both P < 0.05). In vitro, cherry juice procyanidin B-2 dose-dependently inhibited IDO. CONCLUSIONS: Cherry juice increased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Cherry juice procyanidin B-2 inhibited IDO, increased tryptophan availability, reduced inflammation, and may be partially responsible for improvement in insomnia.

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