A new breakthrough in in sports and exercise science is being hailed after research from the University of Chichester showed impressive results for trained athletes using concentrated NZ blackcurrants as a sports aid.
The early findings reveal that New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins, a class of polyphenolic compounds found in particular NZ cultivars, may enhance athletic performance, reduce recovery times and could aid healing.
The study on nine participants showed how the NZ blackcurrant supplement CurraNZ improved sports performance by up to 8.6% in a 10-mile cycling time trial, as well increasing tolerance and clearance of lactate during exercise.
The University of Chichester study was conducted in a double-blind, randomized trial using trained endurance athletes. It tested the effect of seven days of CurraNZ on performance in a 10-mile time trial. The findings showed improved times by on average 3.6%, with the athletes showing improvement values up to 8.6%. Additionally, it improved tolerance to lactate and increased clearance, meaning improved recovery.
It was also shown to delay the anaerobic phase, the point at which muscles fatigue and lactic acid builds up. The analysis into the fruit’s ability to increase blood circulation and nutrient delivery also highlighted its use for promoting healing and repair.
Surrey Cricket Club were the first cricket side to recognise the benefits of NZ blackcurrant as a sports supplement, announcing in March a deal for CurraNZ to become their Recovery Partner for the side in 2014. The club’s strength and conditioning coach and nutritionist, Ryan Blake, says: "CurraNZ is ideal for players given the high physical demands they face in professional cricket."
The research was released at the Florida conference of the International Society of Sports Nutritionists on 21st June.
Mark Willems, Professor in Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester heading up the project, said: "This is the first study of its kind into the use of high dose New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins for improving sports performance and endurance in athletes and we are very excited by the results."
© Cricket World 2014