New Zealand blackcurrant extract offers benefits for exercise recovery
11 June 2019
A new study by scientists at Plant & Food Research has found that an extract from New Zealand blackcurrants could offer benefits for people with an active
The study, just published in Frontiers in Nutrition, contributes to the mounting research around the benefits of
anthocyanin-rich New Zealand blackcurrants on exercise recovery and post-exercise immune function.
“The growing body of research suggests that consumption of New Zealand blackcurrants may have real benefits for those
living an active lifestyle,” says Dr Roger Hurst, Biomedical Scientist who leads the team at Plant & Food Research.
This new study looked at the minimum serve size required and found that consumption of a single serve of 1.6mg of New
Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins per kg of bodyweight taken one hour before exercise had positive effects on exercise
According to this study, the benefits are unlikely to be attributable to the antioxidant properties of the extract and
more likely due to the blackcurrant extract activating adaptive defensive pathways in cells and tissues.
A separate pilot trial explored the effects of the New Zealand Blackcurrant supplement on immune function, which can be
compromised following prolonged or intense exercise. The researchers looked at neutrophils – the body’s first line of
defence against infection – and found that consumption of the New Zealand blackcurrant extract one hour prior to
exercise preserved circulating neutrophil function. This is a significant finding that could benefit active people
wanting to maintain performance and avoid decreased immune function that can accompany training.
“We know functional foods can deliver specific health benefits. The evidence is now mounting that New Zealand
blackcurrants could help people have a more active lifestyle,” says Dr Hurst.
Previous studies by the team at Plant & Food Research found that New Zealand blackcurrants could promote a positive mood and the desire to exercise for longer.
Further intervention studies are currently underway.
Funding for the study was provided by the New Zealand Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) program