Study number three: Blackcurrant 'clearly works' for improving running performance

Study number three: Blackcurrant 'clearly works' for improving running performance

New research shows CurraNZ had a greater effect in elite footballers and supports previous findings of influencing game play outcomes 

A NEW study released today by the University of Chichester shows that New Zealand Blackcurrant extract has a clear application for improving running performance in elite footballers.

They investigated the effects of 600mg (two capsules) of blackcurrant extract CurraNZ on running performance in elite and non-elite footballers.

The findings showed the elite group slowed less during the repeated, high-intensity exhaustive sprints, an effect not observed in the non-elite players.

The findings of three gold-standard studies now confirm the case for blackcurrant supplementation as a nutritional intervention to potentially influence game-play outcomes in running-based team sports.


Blackcurrant had a clear effect on running performance 

  • Elite footballers experienced less slowing in the high-intensity, repeated sprint tests
  • Elite players had reduced slowing of sprint times, an effect not observed in the non-elite players

Blackcurrant reduced player fatigue

  • 12 of the 24 footballers (including five of the nine elites) demonstrated a lower fatigue index by a combined absolute value of 3.5% 

The double-blind, randomized, cross-over study used a running-based anaerobic sprint test (RAST), consisting of 6 x 35-metre sprints with ten seconds of recovery. The test is designed to assess anaerobic performance and measure power and fatigue. 

Mark Willems, Professor in Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester, says: “This study represented an exhaustive running test with long recovery times and the blackcurrant clearly worked.

"There was a strong message from this study that elite football players tended to benefit more from blackcurrant supplementation.

“We have shown that blackcurrant is beneficial for endurance athletes and for sports that require high-intensity, repeated bursts of activity with long recovery times.

“We have also demonstrated in previous research that blackcurrant positively affects maximal sprint performance after at least one hour of exercise which can be useful in the final parts of game sports.”

The study, released at the Sports Nutrition and Supplements Conference in Philadelphia today, involved 15 non-elite University team football players and nine elite players from an English professional club youth team.

Similar findings emerged from the peer-reviewed, published Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST), showing runners slowed less in later phases of sprinting blocks, experienced less fatigue and ran for longer, at higher intensity. Subjects also reported less perceived exertion on blackcurrant.

An earlier high-intensity intermittent treadmill study, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, showed that participants ran 10.8% further – the equivalent of 411m - with blackcurrant supplementation.

New Zealand Blackcurrant anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that also relax the body’s blood vessels, resulting in up to 20% more blood flow. Additionally, scientists have demonstrated they increase fat burning by up to 27% during exercise.

The blackcurrants’ performance effects are thought to be due to their effect on blood flow, powerful antioxidant activity that reduce fatigue factors and buffer lactate, while improving the body’s fat burning capability, considered beneficial for endurance.

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