Blackcurrant extract can help your cardio effort

Athletes who took a supplement of New Zealand blackcurrant extract for a week experienced an improvement in their resting cardiovascular function, found a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual conference.

In the study, conducted by Mark Willems, Professor of Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester, 15 cyclists were given different daily doses (300mg, 600mg or 900mg) of a powdered form of the fruit extract.

Willems and his team measured various parameters of cardiovascular function. Results showed dose-dependent improvements in both stroke volume and cardiac output, but no changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure or heart rate.

“Blackcurrants grown in New Zealand have particularly high levels of anthocyanin which, when taken, can widen the blood vessels and improve flow,” Professor Willems said. “We show for the first time the beneficial effects for endurance athletes.”

In previous trials, Willems and his team showed blackcurrant extract lowered lactate accumulation in the blood, improved performance and enhanced recovery from exercise.

» See Athletics Weekly magazine for more of the latest performance news