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    Are you in an 'at risk' group? How blackcurrants may benefit asthmatics and hypertensive older adults

    on September 21, 2020

    STAYING well as we approach the autumn and keeping healthy has become a laser-sharp focus for everyone with the Pandemic refusing to go away – and particularly for the vulnerable and elderly.

    This week, in our research series on blackcurrant, we reveal how this polyphenol powerhouse may be beneficial for asthmatics and hypertensive adults.

    If you’re not familiar with blackcurrants, their potent bioactives have a range of health-protecting and promoting actions.

    In this context of today’s article, the spotlight falls on the berry’s effect on blood flow and inflammation in relation to allergy-induced asthma. The science also suggests blackcurrant can benefit non-specific lung diseases, too.

    If you missed our must-read blog on blackcurrant’s impressive immune-boosting properties and how they help control damaging oxidative stress, read the article here.

    To read about blackcurrant’s ‘auspicious’ anti-viral actions and their track record against previous pandemics, click here.




    CurraNZ blackcurrants can help reduce lung inflammation

    SCIENTISTS in New Zealand have found that polyphenol compounds in fruits and vegetables have been found to reduce lung inflammation1,3, with a clear link between fruit consumption and a reduction in allergy-induced lung inflammation.

    In the study, Plant-Derived Foods for the Attenuation of Allergic Airway Inflammation, researchers suggested they could also benefit respiratory problems and non-specific lung diseases, too.

    The scientists found: “Fruit-derived proanthocyanins and anthocyanins have been found to attenuate lung inflammation. Epidemiological studies have revealed correlations between fruit consumption and a lower prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lower incidence of non-specific lung diseases.”

    In another study1, they found blackcurrants, and in particular, the variety we use in CurraNZ, can reduce a key inflammatory step associated with allergy-induced asthma. As a result, scientists believe that, in these instances, they may ease breathing.

    They found our blackcurrants enhance the body’s natural defence mechanisms in the lung by reducing the inflammation-causing reactions and minimising inflammation.

    The lead scientist on the study, Professor Roger Hurst, observed: “The new research shows certain anthocyanins present in blackcurrant are important in controlling inflammation in the lung, but more importantly, it is the ratio of these anthocyanins rather than presence or absence of them that makes blackcurrants a healthy fruit.”



    CurraNZ can help reduce risk factors in hypertensive older adults

    ANTHOCYANINS can help regulate high blood pressure in older adults, who are most at risk of viral infections.

    High blood pressure – or hypertension – increases the risk of heart attack, and can be a real concern when the body is fighting an infection. With fever, the heart rate increases as the body’s greater demand for oxygen increases - and places further stress on the cardiovascular system.

    A review paper analysing 52 studies4 of the impact of dietary anthocyanins on blood pressure regulation, including several CurraNZ papers, found the ‘consistent observation’ that these berry compounds were beneficial for blood pressure.

    Long-term studies lasting six and eight weeks showed ‘strong effects’ in those with elevated blood pressure values.

    Our very own research confirms this effect, with just two capsules of CurraNZ a day1 for just a week lowering blood pressure values in older adults.

    The study, published in December, was performed in 60- and 70-year-olds with pre-hypertension or hypertension. The improvements were similar to common medications and equivalent to reducing cardiovascular risk factors by 20%.

    This was the first CurraNZ study that measured blackcurrant extract on blood pressure in an age-group experiencing the typical degrading effects of ageing on cardiovascular function.



    How blackcurrants help boost immune defences



    1. Hurst et al, 2014 “Blackcurrant cultivar polyphenolic extracts suppress CCL26 secretion from alveolar epithelial cells“. Food Function DOI1039/c3fo60568j
    2. Cook et al, “Effect of New Zealand Blackcurrant on Blood Pressure, Cognitive Function and Functional Performance in Older Adults” Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics, DOI 1080/21551197.2019.1707740
    3. Nyanhanda et al. "Plant-derived foods for the attenuation of allergic airway inflammation." Current pharmaceutical design 20.6 (2014): 869-878.
    4. Vendrame et al. "Potential Factors Influencing the Effects of Anthocyanins on Blood Pressure Regulation in Humans: A Review." Nutrients 11.6 (2019): 1431.