A new British study1 published in Nutrients from the University of Surrey, shows that CurraNZ® can reduce muscle soreness by HALF in recreational exercisers undertaking strenuous exercise.
In the first study of its kind, our anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant supplement provided a ‘stark’ improvement to functional recovery when taken before and after a damaging bout of bicep curl exercises.
The study was performed in 27 men and women who were unaccustomed to exercise involving strength training to build muscle, otherwise known as ‘resistance’ training.
The same study’s clinical data demonstrated three-times faster recovery of muscle strength and reduced muscle soreness – great news for those of us who like to keep active, such as gym goers and individuals looking to take up exercise.
In summary, the clinical findings from the University of Surrey’s study, where respondents were supplemented with 300mg (one capsule) of CurraNZ® blackcurrant extract, found:
Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) typically involves two phases of recovery, with a disruption to muscle fibres followed by a rise in inflammation, swelling and oxidative stress. These secondary events lead to additional tissue damage and the release of toxic by-products, which results in impaired muscle function and pain, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
New Zealand blackcurrant extract is rich in anthocyanins, natural pigments responsible for the fruit’s dark purple colouring. These bioactives are regarded as nature’s biological response modifiers because of their antioxidant7,8,14,15, cardiovascular 9,10,11 and anti-inflammatory12,13 qualities.
Scientists believe that supplementing before exercise may effectively prime muscle tissue to cope with the inevitable increase in oxidative stress14,15, while continued supplementation in the recovery period may attenuate secondary damage.
In this study, blackcurrant consumption reduced recovery time, with participants regaining muscle function within 1 day. It is not uncommon for recovery to take several days, as demonstrated in the placebo group.
Furthermore, blackcurrant consumption reduced the release of creatine kinase (a protein that leaks out of damaged muscle tissue into the circulation) by 84% compared to placebo at 96 hours post exercise, indicating the berry’s compounds protected muscles from secondary tissue damage.
The use of anthocyanin-rich foods and supplements have become popular for aiding post-exercise recovery in active people in recent years. However, the majority of studies on anthocyanin and antioxidant-rich interventions, such as beetroot2, blueberry3, tart cherry 4,5 and pomegranate6, have shown no effect on creatine kinase, a common measure to assess EIMD.
However, in this latest study, the New Zealand blackcurrant supplement – CurraNZ® - proved very effective, which is attributed to its antioxidant scavenging and anti-inflammatory abilities, as demonstrated in previous studies12,13,14,15.
Dr Julie Hunt (left), lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences at the School of Biosciences and Medicine at the University of Surrey, led the research, using a minimum dose of 300mg CurraNZ Blackcurrant Extract.
Participants took one capsule seven days leading to the experiment, an hour beforehand, then four days following testing.
Commenting on the resulting study data, Dr Hunt notes: “You can see by the creatine kinase levels that our exercise protocol caused significant muscle damage in the placebo group, but this response was absent in the New Zealand blackcurrant – CurraNZ – group.
“In line with this, those who consumed the extract reported half the level of muscle soreness and regained muscle strength faster during the 96-hour recovery period.
“This is really indicative that the New Zealand blackcurrant extract suppressed the inflammatory and oxidative stress responses that stimulate pain receptors and further, secondary muscle damage following strenuous exercise, aiding recovery”.
In summary, Dr Hunt adds: “Non-resistance-trained individuals are likely to experience more severe muscle damage as a result of doing strenuous unaccustomed exercise. They are likely to feel stiff and sore after a heavy session, which could put them off returning to the gym.
"A nutritional product like this is relevant because we want individuals to exercise at a sufficient frequency to promote training adaptations and health outcomes.
“There is a clear application for blackcurrant to facilitate exercise recovery as individuals regained their strength more quickly, while suffering up to 47% and 49% less muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours.”