Physically demanding sports like Running, Cycling, Swimming, Boxing, Football, Badminton, Basketball, CrossFit, or Tennis require a high level of stamina. Endurance sports not only test the athletes cardiovascular (vo2) capabilities but also require speed, agility & strength all of which place an incredible physical demand on the body.
New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract has been scientifically proven that it may
- Reduce Muscle Fatique
- Improve Cardiovascular Output
- Improve some indices of performance such as VO2 max
- Reduce Exercise Induced Oxidative Stress
- Improve Peripheral Bloodflow
Evidence Based Nutrition
A study looking into beneficial effects of New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract on maximal sprint speed during the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle test at the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester concluded that the intake of New Zealand blackcurrant extract may be beneficial for performance in team sports that involve maximal sprints with the benefits applicable in the later stages of the game.
In another clinical trial involving 54 female and male athletes at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences the group that were given Anthocyanins showed significant improvement VO2 max after intervention period.
We are all about Evidence Based Nutrition at Epoch, so below are just some more examples of the extensive research that has been completed to support the health benefits that may occur when consuming New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract which is the key incredient in our very own 'Performance and Recovery' sports nutrition product.
Health Benefit: Reduced Muscle Fatigue
A trial designed to mimic high intensity sprints (intermittent running to exhaustion) often seen in rugby and football.
- Increased distance covered by 10.8% vs placebo group (no Blackcurrant extract consume).
- Blackcurrants allowed 15% higher lactate levels at the point of exhaustion. So when you are pushing yourself in a race, or training that point of exhaustion has a higher threshold which gives you an advantage.
- Improved post-exercise recovery.
New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract may help to postpone peripheral muscle fatigue, reduced accumulation of metabolites and improved peripheral blood flow. It is also likely that the antioxidant activity of Blackcurrants helps to reduce fatigue caused by the production of reactive oxygen species during exercise.
- Reduce Oxidative Stress (Lower bio-markers)
- Reducing muscle damage and soreness
- Boost immune protection
While antioxidant supplementation has been shown to alleviate exercise-induced oxidative stress and beneﬁt athletes undergoing long-term strenuous training by reducing oxidative stress-related injuries and illnesses.
A study completed by Plant and Food Research looked at how short-term blackcurrant extract consumption modulates exercise-induced oxidative stress and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated inﬂammatory responses. They knew that Exercise induced oxidative stress is instrumental in achieving the health beneﬁts from regular exercise. So they wanted to see if inappropriate use of fruit-derived products (commonly applied as prophalytic antioxidants) may counteract the positive effects of exercise.
Using human exercise and cellular models we found that
- blackcurrant supplementation suppressed exercise-induced oxidative stress, e.g., plasma carbonyls
- Preincubation of THP-1 cells with an anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant extract inhibited LPS-stimulated cytokine secretion
- In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory properties, we found that postexercise plasma collected after blackcurrant supplementation enhanced the differential temporal LPS-stimulated inﬂammatory response in THP-1 cells, resulting in an early suppression of TNF
There ﬁndings support the concept that consumption of blackcurrant anthocyanins alleviate oxidative stress, and may, if given at the appropriate amount and time, complement the ability of exercise to enhance immune responsiveness to potential pathogens.
Regular exercise is essential to maintain health and reduce susceptibility to common aliments. Exercise-induced transient oxidative stress (via ROS-dependent or -independent mechanisms) is an important element in the activation of appropriate adaptive events that may underpin the improved immune function achieved from regular exercise. Therefore, excessive or inappropriate timing of supplements (e.g., antioxidant, anti-inﬂammatory) that completely mitigate oxidative stress during exercise may prevent these adaptive events. Although the Blackcurrant extract used in this study demonstrated both antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory properties, our ﬁndings support the concept that fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins, if consumed in the appropriate amounts and at the optimum time, have the ability to augment the health beneﬁts of regular exercise.
Health Benefit: Train Harder for Longer
Fifteen endurance-trained male cyclists took part in this study over a 7-day period. Each participant was randomly assigned a dose of Blackcurrant Extract. and the sessions were carried out on participants while in a supine (horizontal) position to examine their cardiovascular functions when resting.
New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract was beneficial for cardiovascular health in athletes.
- Increased Cardiac Output (15 - 28%) - volume of blood that is delivered to the body supplying oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and muscles.
- Increased Stroke Volume (7 - 18%) which is an important factor of cardiac output and is the volume of blood pumped from the left ventricle of the heart per beat. Increasing these two levels allows for more blood and oxygen to reach and fuel muscles to keep them working and delay fatigue
- Improved peripheral resistance (20%) - this resistance allows the ‘fuel’ to reach the muscles more easily.
- Reduced Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress
- Improved Blood Flow
- Improved Recovery
Clinical studies looking into the effects of Blackcurrant powder on exercise-induced oxidative stress highlighted the reduction of protein carbonyls, oxidative capability and creatine kinase activity in subjects whom had consumed the Blackcurrant Extract.
The research found that Blackcurrants boost the natural benefits of exercise, by reducing muscle damage and soreness and assisting immune protection. These benefits are backed by scientific data showing speedier tissue repair, recovery and performance in exercise. Therefore, this study suggests that at the appropriate time and amounts, Blackcurrants enable those involved in physical fitness to train harder, for longer periods.
Several clinical trials showed that athletes consuming Blackcurrant Powder or Extract made with New Zealand Blackcurrants, showed performance effects for endurance athletes, including improving blood flow. The results of the studies showed lower lactate accumulation during exercise indicating improved recovery, improved performance and improved cardiovascular.
The Results: A trial on a group of triathletes highlighted that the athletes whom had consumed extract for 7 days (vs the placebo group haven't consumed none) had
- lower lactate accumulation, showing a complete shift in the lactate curve compared to the placebo.
- Lactate was reduced by 14% at maximum oxygen uptake.
- Cycling intensity (Power) at OBLA (onset of blood lactate accumulation) was 6% higher in the Blackcurrant group.
- Increased cardiac output by 26%
- Increased blood flow, by decreasing total peripheral resistance by 16%
- Increased cardiovascular efficiency through increased stroke volume by 25%. Stroke volume is the amount of blood pumped out of the heart which improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the muscles.
The Health Benefit
- Improve Peripheral Blood Flow
Because blood flow to the muscles is critical for oxygen delivery for sustained muscular activity, dietary interventions that can enhance blood flow to the muscles are of interest to athletes. While some of the trials show improved sports performance with consumption of Blackcurrants the why is not yet known. A study was completed on a group of cyclists to provide insight into the mechanism for the enhanced effect.
The key finding of this study was that the femoral artery diameter was increased with consumption of Blackcurrant during the sustained quadriceps contraction. This change was accompanied by cardiovascular changes, with decreased blood pressure, decreased total peripheral resistance with a related increase in cardiac output and stroke volume. The results also showed a decrease in muscle oxygen saturation, while total haemoglobin concentration was increased.
Taken together, the increase in vasodilation and cardiac output would indicate an increase in peripheral blood flow with Blackcurrant consumption as the potential mechanism for enhanced exercise performance with Blackcurrant.
One trial showed a reduction in the activity of creatine kinase, a blood marker of muscle damage by 6.7%, compared to 82% increase in activity in the placebo group. These results suggest that Blackcurrant consumption offers a protective effect against muscle damage that often results in the release of creatine kinase after exercise.
Health Benefit: Lower the risk of heart disease
Numerous trials have shown that an increased intake of polyphenols (including Blackcurrant polyphenols) lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, through an improvement in:
- blood pressure,
- lipid levels in the blood
- biomarkers such as Nitric oxide (a potent vasodilator), Vascular inflammation and Endothelial function (endothelium: the inner lining of blood vessels).
- In a long-term intervention trial (12 weeks), 150 individuals with high levels of blood cholesterol were given anthocyanins (320 mg/day) or placebo. The results observed significant increases in the HDL-cholesterol (“good’ cholesterol) concentrations, and decreases in LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) concentrations.