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Behind The Research, part 2: The 'stark' effects for muscle recovery

on March 13, 2024

In our second article, we open our research archives and revisit the landmark recovery study published on CurraNZ in 2021.

If you’re new to our supplement, this is a great chance to learn about the incredible product-specific benefits we've uncovered since launching CurraNZ in 2014.

The study:

Consumption of New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract improves recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in non-resistance trained men and women: A double-blind randomized trial, (Published in Nutrients, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082875)

What was study about?

The blackcurrants used in CurraNZ are higher in antioxidants compared to most other fruits. We looked at whether it could support healthy recovery from strenuous exercise and protect against muscle tissue damage.

The dose:

1 x 300mg capsule of CurraNZ for 8 days up to and including testing – followed by continued intake four days following.

Why is this meaningful?

In the last few decades, there has been a lot of interest in polyphenol-rich fruits, drinks and supplements (such as quercetin, beetroot, blueberry, cherry and pomegranate) to support recovery and counteract negative responses from exercise, thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Little was known about blackcurrants for this benefit, but given their antioxidant potency, there was strong potential for them to shine in this area.

Also, other fruits have shown mixed results for reducing muscle tissue damage, but here, we found CurraNZ delivered impressive benefits, which has raised the bar. 

What we found:

  • Three-times faster recovery of muscle function (over 96 hours).
  • CurraNZ-dosed subjects regained muscle strength within just 24 hours, while the placebo group recovered in 72 hours.
  • 47% and 49% less muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours, compared to placebo
  • CurraNZ 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.

What the scientists said about the findings-

Dr Julie Hunt, lecturer in Sport and Exercise Sciences from the School of Biosciences and Medicine at the University of Surrey (UK, pictured left) who led the study, said:

“The reason for choosing non resistance-trained individuals is that we know they are likely to experience more severe muscle damage as a result of doing strenuous unaccustomed exercise. 

 “We used bicep flexion and extension – in essence a bicep curl – which is the gold standard for inducing muscle damage.

 “You can see by the creatine kinase levels (table below) 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 blackcurrant 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.

“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.”

What have we discovered since then?

  • As well as priming the body for exercise via its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, CurraNZ also leads to faster recovery of energy stores in muscle. This is fundamental to recovery and performance - and another new finding for our product. We’ll be digging into this new finding later in our series.

In case you missed it

See Part 1 in our series here.

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