NEW ZEALAND scientists have found that five weeks’ intake of New Zealand blackcurrant extract provides more than one-off benefits for exercise recovery and may enhance adaptation to exercise.
Previous studies have shown that consuming a single dose of New Zealand blackcurrant extract assists with exercise recovery, helps regulate oxidative stress, inflammation and supports immunity.
The scientists found that long-term consumption of blackcurrant at a higher dose, equivalent to two capsules of CurraNZ, maintained or enhanced the benefits of exercise and is more effective than a single dose.
Signalling new territory for the New Zealand blackcurrant extract research, the scientists also indicated that the berry ‘primes’ the body for exercise by switching on antioxidant, inflammatory defences and adaptative pathways.
Several studies have explored whether anthocyanin-rich foods can upregulate cellular adaptive antioxidant systems. This is in contrast to high doses of Vitamins C and E, that can blunt adaptive responses by directly suppressing oxidative stress.
The New Zealand Plant and Food research group theorised that the polyphenol-rich blackcurrant extract would activate the same adaptive cellular signalling pathways as physical exercise itself. They have previously found that the berry stimulates the body’s endogenous antioxidant systems.
Thirty-four healthy individuals, 13 females, 21 males, were divided into two trial groups and randomly assigned placebo or blackcurrant. They performed a 30-minute row on week one and again after five weeks’ daily intake.
The findings showed blackcurrant:
The scientists concluded that daily long-term consumption improved recovery effectiveness of blackcurrant and created an anti-inflammatory/antioxidant microenvironment that helps control underlying chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
They also believe that by improving the body’s mucosal defences, which fluctuates with exercise-induced oxidative stress, blackcurrant may preserve first-line innate immune responses.
A previous study showed that blackcurrant maintained circulating neutrophil defences, which help protect the body against opportunistic infections.
This data formed part of the scientific dossier that achieved a self-substantiated health claim for New Zealand blackcurrant against exercise-induced oxidative stress in New Zealand and Australia in 2019.
Daily Consumption of an Anthocyanin-Rich Extract Made from New Zealand Blackcurrants for 5 Weeks Supports Exercise Recovery Through the Management of Oxidative Stress and Inflammaton: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study was published in Frontiers of Nutrition DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2020.00016
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