Lucy Denver - British runner, adventurer, occasional Cross Fitter, currently chasing her first ultra- marathon, puts CurraNZ to the test
I’ve been known to be somewhat of a sceptic when it comes to supplements. Unfortunately, there are a lot of powders, pills and capsules on the market that claim a whole host of benefits, however when consumed, it is difficult to notice any difference in your training.
The search for supplements gets even harder if, especially if you’re like me and you have dietary requirements. Although protein powder, pre-workouts and recovery bars are readily available in most supermarkets and plenty of gyms, these days, their main ingredient is usually whey. This means that if you’re lactose-intolerant like me or following a vegan diet, they’re as useful as a chocolate teapot. If you add in any kind of diet where you try to eliminate or reduce added sugar, it’s even more problematic.
That’s why I was more than a little bit interested when I heard about CurraNZ. CurraNZ is basically about 85 blackcurrants, dehydrated to create a super-concentrated powder, packed into an easy-to-swallow capsule.
These little beauties also contain zero added sugar (yes, there is some naturally-occurring fruit sugar, but only 2.4 milligrams per serving and let’s be honest, what is life without fruit?) and zero added anything else. This means they can work for the strictest of diets: vegan, paleo, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and even nut allergy sufferers. Like I said, there are thousands of supplements on the market and, when you narrow it down, the ones who seem to have an intolerance for most things at some stage are fit people (aka ME) and the field starts to look pretty limited.
CurraNZ stands out for being thoroughly natural, approved for use in sport and boasts an impressive array of stats to back it up as an aide for performance, recovery, circulation and fat burning. Oh - and it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, which brings it right to the top of the pile in my book. Inflammation is rife in western diets and it’s something I’m on a mission to eradicate.
So, I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about.
CurraNZ recommend you take 1-2 capsules per day, 2 hours before sport and that you’ll start to notice the effects after a week. I started taking them when I had a series of trail runs lined-up as well as a couple of high-intensity CrossFit workouts, so I knew I’d have plenty of opportunities to test out their potency.
To begin with, I didn’t really feel any different. My diet since June had been entirely based on reducing inflammation and it was certainly working, although I was feeling tired a lot of the time and struggling to keep up my pace on my running.
By day four, I was ready to try CurraNZ in a trail running situation. The best way I can describe it is like a pre-workout without the shakes, or the noticeable ‘buzz’ I tend to feel from the sugar in BCAA drinks.
I felt alert and my breathing felt a little easier. My run was pretty solid, and I held a good pace the whole way around. “But that could be down to anything,” my sceptic-self argued back (cheers, brain). I had already planned out my next run - a mile longer, same time the next morning - to see how the recovery claims stacked up. I changed as little else about my routine - not a controlled environment exactly, but I did my best.
And the next morning? I felt great. My pace picked up faster than the previous day and I held it steady for the whole route. My legs felt fresh and despite the clear, slightly chilly night my fingers didn’t go white with cold like the usually do (CurraNZ does claim circulatory benefits). This theme continued throughout day three when I repeated the same run, and DOMS were a distant memory.
By the second week I was sold, but I was also busy and headed off travelling for a few days with work. I forgot to take CurraNZ with me. I trained. And the DOMS came back hard. Three days without the good stuff also left me feeling bloated in the evenings despite no other dietary changes - something I hadn’t experienced since day 2 of taking CurraNZ.
My most recent use of CurraNZ was to help me recover from Ragnar Relay, a team event where 5-10 of you run 170-ish miles over about 30 hours in a relay style along the south coast of Britain. This event can wipe you out for days as you cover so much ground. In true Denver fashion (I’m nothing if not truthful) I managed to leave my supply in the hire car at Heathrow, so the first thing I did on Monday morning after a weekend running 30+ miles was to swallow a couple and cross my fingers they would help aid my recovery. The fact that it’s Wednesday today and I’ve just successfully completed a 7am hill sprint session feeling fine, suggests that these beauties really do work. My current (no pun intended) plan is to keep my stash close at hand and get into a regular routine taking one each morning. I couldn’t tell you if they’ve helped me to burn any extra fat, but anything that keeps down inflammation and improves recovery is a friend of mine.