A new study1 has found that CurraNZ can amplify the heart health benefits of exercise by boosting the blood pressure-lowering effects that occur in the recovery phase after physical activity.
Researchers from the University of Worcester discovered that just one week of using CurraNZ boosted the blood pressure-lowering effects by an average 2.1mmHg compared to placebo.
They also found CurraNZ improved subjects' fat burning by an impressive 66% during exercise.
Scientist: "Small changes have big implications for lifespan"
Dr Matthew Cook, Senior Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester (pictured, above), who conducted his PhD on New Zealand blackcurrants for sports performance, led the study.
He says: “Exercise is a well-known way of managing high blood pressure, because of its effects on reducing resting blood pressure. We know that elevated blood pressure is a modifiable risk factor for various diseases, and even small changes can have large implications for health across the lifespan”.
Known as the ‘silent killer’, blood pressure is a modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factor that can be lowered through exercise. A minimum of 30 minutes of exertion leads to clinically important changes in the cardiovascular system that can last up to 24 hours.
Dr Cook adds: “This study has shown that short-term intake of New Zealand blackcurrant extract effectively increases the hypotensive benefits of exercise, which is an exciting discovery and novel finding.”
Science showing CurraNZ offers a powerful suite of benefits for longevity and heart health
CurraNZ Original has been shown to improve the health and function of the cardiovascular system in young and older adults by inducing vasodilation, increasing blood flow, normalising blood pressure and enhancing oxidative capacity and oxygen uptake in muscle during exercise.
15 healthy, untrained adults in their 20s and 30s with normal blood pressure were tested following a week’s intake of 600mg CurraNZ blackcurrant extract. Two hours following their final dose, they underwent 60 minutes of low-to-moderate treadmill exercise. Their blood pressure, energy metabolism (fat and carbohydrate use) and heart rate variability were measured.
In this study, researchers found that CurraNZ:
It is the first time the effects of blackcurrant have been tested in a post-exercise hypotension model and adds to the emerging picture of the powerful contribution CurraNZ can make to improving cardiovascular responses during and after exercise, and at rest.
Dr Cook says: “Post exercise hypotension is a good thing and one of the main benefits of undertaking exercise.
“These changes in healthy adults are clinically meaningful because a 3mmHg reduction in blood pressure is equivalent to lowering cardiovascular mortality risk factors by 5%.
“It would be interesting to repeat the study in hypertensive adults, who would likely be more sensitive and may demonstrate an even larger post-exercise response.
“It would also be of interest to repeat the study and extend the testing window, because post-exercise hypotension can occur for 12-24 hours before returning to baseline.”
CurraNZ increased fat burning by 66% (on average)
The study also measured fat metabolism, with participants experiencing on average, 66% higher fat burning rates during the exercise test.
In addition, the study showed for the first time that the berry extract’s effects on enhancing fat metabolism during exercise are not continued in the recovery period immediately following the exercise.
Dr Cook says: “Fat metabolism during exercise is an important factor for endurance performance and increasing the body’s ability to use fat during exercise, could be beneficial to performance during events where the bodily stores of carbohydrate are important”.
Dr Cook also measured heart rate variability, which indicates changes to cardiac regulation, which could cause changes in blood pressure.
He says: “This provides an insight into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system’s control on heart rate variability, which we haven’t measured before with blackcurrant. We were interested to see if it had an effect on heart rate variability during exercise but we didn’t find anything so we can rule this out as a potential mechanism for its hypotensive effects.”
How does CurraNZ aid fat metabolism?
The anthocyanin bioactives in CurraNZ are natural vasodilators that increase blood flow by 20%-45% during exercise. Scientists believe their effect on blood flow is the reason that blackcurrants increase the body’s fat burning capacity under exercise conditions.
The blackcurrant varieties used in CurraNZ contain one of the highest concentrations of anthocyanins and antioxidants in any commercially-grown food. The fruit’s anthocyanins (berry pigment) are the active ingredient that delivers the fitness and health benefits.
Researchers have found that New Zealand blackcurrant can elevate fat burning by averages of 27% - 66% in men and women with a range of BMIs. Those with higher BMIs have been shown to be higher responders. These changes are equivalent to fat burning adaptations normally seen after 1-3 months of daily exercise.