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NZ Blackcurrant found to have exciting benefits for sprint and endurance athletes

on August 11, 2018

RESEARCHERS from the University of Chichester have discovered that blackcurrant compounds found in CurraNZ can exert different beneficial effects on athletes, depending on their individual muscle fibre type make-up.

In the study, Effect of New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract on Muscle Fibre-Specific Fatigue, Professor Mark Willems and his team discovered that after just a week's intake of CurraNZ, individuals respond in different ways to blackcurrant based on their muscle fibre profile, suggesting varied applications for different exercise disciplines.

The abstract, released at the European Conference of Sport Science last month, reveals the effect of New Zealand blackcurrant intake on individuals with fast and slow-twitch fibre types during a fatiguing exercise test.

In the double-blind, randomized, crossover design study, individuals were identified by their predominant muscle fibre type. They performed a series of fatiguing contractions of the quadricep, during which the muscle twitch responses were measured.

The study found:

  • Individuals with Type 1 fibres (slow twitch, ie endurance) had an increased resistance to fatigue
  • Individuals with Type 2 fibres (fast twitch, ie sprint) could produce 15% greater force from their muscle contractions

The study was a follow-up to a program of cycling and running studies that have shown that New Zealand blackcurrant improves athletic performance in recreational and elite athletes in ranges up to an average of 11%.

Professor Willems (pictured left), who is leading the program of blackcurrant sports performance research at the University, says: “This study has shown that if you are an individual who likes high-intensity, repeated exercise, you would benefit from blackcurrant and if you are individual who likes endurance exercise, you will also benefit from an ability to be more resistant to fatigue.

“It is exciting to see these findings. Those with Type 2 muscle fibre types are, most of the time, individuals who do high-intensity exercises like sprints, such as rugby players. In this case, when they perform repeated contractions, they have an ability to produce more force during those contractions with blackcurrant. 

"This would also apply to any sport that requires a need for high-intensity activity in a short period of time.

"We've already seen in previous performance studies that blackcurrant provides increased fatigue resistance and increased endurance effect. This study confirms this effect in type 1 individuals based on what we have observed in some of the whole-body exercise studies. “

The 12 male subjects were supplemented on 600mg (two capsules) of CurraNZ a day for seven days.

CurraNZ is an Informed-Sport-certified supplement used for recovery, performance and immunity within recreational and professional sporting sectors in the UK and Australasia. It is the subject of an ongoing program of health and fitness-related research, with more studies due out at the end of the year.