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Blackcurrants and Brain Health – World First Discovery at Auckland University

Blackcurrants and Brain Health – World First Discovery at Auckland University

March 22, 2019

A new scientific discovery by the University of Auckland has found New Zealand blackcurrants have high levels of a key brain nutrient.

The World First Discovery by Associate Professor Dr Jian Guan of the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research found New Zealand blackcurrants contain high levels of cyclic Glycine-Proline (cGP), a key brain nutrient that normalises the Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) function a hormone, a key to the whole of body health and wellness.

Dr Guan, who has researched cGP for nearly 30 years, says low levels of cGP are commonly found in people with age-related issues. cGP can decline with age so the high natural level of cGP in New Zealand blackcurrants can help maintain these levels.

 “I like to call it the maintenance of ageing. This finding about New Zealand blackcurrants is very exciting because it is something completely natural with the ability to maintain the health of an ageing body and mind.

Dr Guan came across “the power of New Zealand blackcurrants” by chance when researching levels of cGP in patients who had New Zealand blackcurrants added to their diet. She found increased levels of cGP after four weeks of a measured amount of blackcurrant.

Dr Guan says there are strong possibilities for New Zealand blackcurrants to be used in benefiting people with other health issues. “It’s unique to see a response like this in a natural product,”  says Dr Guan.

“It’s unique to see a response like this in a natural product,”  says Dr Guan. 

Jim Grierson, Vitality New Zealand Managing Director who co-founded the company with second-generation blackcurrant grower David Eder, says they have known about the health benefits of New Zealand blackcurrants for many years, and now they have the science to prove it.

“New Zealand blackcurrants have a natural, and very high level of cGP, which is unique to our locally grown blackcurrants. This is a major development for the industry, and we are excited about the possibilities and what it might mean for growers and New Zealand.”

“New Zealand blackcurrants are a super fruit, and this discovery comes at a time when the New Zealand blackcurrant industry is undergoing a transition as consumers become more aware of how good they are for your whole of body health.

“We are also seeing a growing interest from the scientific community in the health-boosting properties found naturally in our blackcurrants, and we are excited to see what other benefits that may come to light in our ongoing research.

Dr Guan has been commissioned by Vitality New Zealand to further advance her cGP research and is independent of Vitality New Zealand business activities.




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