ONE triathlete recently told us, ‘if eating dog poo would make me faster, I’d do it.’
If you’re serious about your performance, then maybe you identify with this view.
Concentrated beetroot sports products have been popular in recent years for performance, but let’s face it, most of these shots and drinks taste like manure.
Plus, they can cause stomach upsets, which isn’t ideal for racing. Embarrassing loo stops during competition will kill any chance of beating your best time.
Fortunately, there’s another way. If you’re after a natural dietary aid free from unpleasant side-effects, then blackcurrants are a winner.
Blackcurrant extract CurraNZ, an official supplement supplier to High Performance Sport New Zealand and high-profile sports team all over the world, is taste-free, scientifically proven and drug tested. Plus, it's ultra-convenient, easy to use and contains next-to-no sugar.
The subject of more than a dozen peer-reviewed studies, the evidence for CurraNZ is undeniable.
It’s also gentle and protective on the gut (more on this below) and as a vegetarian-friendly capsule, the product is great for those with special dietary needs and removes any hassle associated with shots and drinks.
Here are five scientifically-proven ways in which blackcurrants can boost your performance:
Small but mighty, blackcurrants are rich in polyphenol compounds that boost blood flow.
For the performance-minded, CurraNZ increases main arterial blood flow up to 35% during exercise1 and boosts oxygen uptake within the muscle. The effect? Muscles work less hard for the same output and delays onset of lactate2, meaning you’ll feel less fatigue and your muscles will keep firing for longer.
If you're into endurance sport and participate in events longer than six hours, we recommend re-dosing during the race. This is because the anthocyanin levels will be dipping after eight hours, so re-dosing six hours after dose one will provide another vasodilation boost - useful at the end of the race to reduce fatigue and support muscle function.
The berry’s dramatic effect on fat oxidation is an incredible discovery that makes it stand apart from beetroot and other performance aids. Absolutely nothing else touches blackcurrant in this respect.
Running, walking, cycling and running studies3,4,5,6,7 from 30 to 120 minutes, in normal temperatures and in the heat, have proven repeatedly that CurraNZ, taken for at least a week, will increase fat burning during exercise in ranges up to 30% on average and up to 55% in some individuals.
The news gets better. Taken for two weeks, the effect on fat burning becomes even more pronounced6.
Put it this way, to achieve these increases to fat burning through exercise alone is equivalent to exercising two hours every day for a month!
How will this help performance? Burning more fat is beneficial for endurance. Plus, blackcurrant also spares carbohydrate, meaning you have more left ‘in the tank’ for the end of the race.
In scientific terms, the benchmark for an ergogenic aid to make ‘any worthwhile change’ to sports performance is approximately 0.8%.
Six running and cycling studies8,9,10,11,12,13 on blackcurrant extract have shown average performance increases ranging from 2.4% to 11%, with top responders in some studies hitting 15%.
Outside of the lab however, 83% of CurraNZ users surveyed have seen a noticeable improvement to their performance.
So, if you’re an endurance athlete or take part in sports characterised by high-intensity, intermittent sprints such as football and rugby, then blackcurrants can bring real benefits.
4. Ideal for supporting the gut when exercising in the heat
Up to 90% of endurance athletes experience symptoms of gut distress14, such as vomiting, dizziness and stomach upsets, which becomes more pronounced when exercising in the heat.
Hot race-day conditions add another layer of challenge with potential exertional heat stress.
In these conditions, beetroot becomes an absolute no-no because it increases core and skin temperature and is not recommended for use in hot temperatures16.
Blackcurrants however, are a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce the effects of exertional distress on the gut15.
5. Less perceived exertion
So, if your muscles don’t have to work as hard during exercise for the same output, does this make the task mentally easier? We don’t know the answer for sure, but there is certainly science to support this, with study subjects feeling less perceived exertion8 and having a greater motivation to keep going when exercising 17.
Using blackcurrant for performance gains
It’s easy. Take one-two capsules of CurraNZ every day for at least a week (two weeks if possible) up to and including race day.
On race day, take two capsules, two hours before the start time, with or without food. Take two capsules six hours following if racing for longer than this period. We suggest snipping two capsules from the blister and carrying on your person or strapping to bike handles.
Another tip - the effects on fat burning during exercise are even greater after two weeks of use6, which is more beneficial for endurance.
So, in conclusion, longer daily use of CurraNZ will deliver better effects, and that’s no crap.