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The small New Zealand superfruit punching above its weight

March 7, 2019

The small New Zealand superfruit punching above its weight

A new scientific discovery by the University of Auckland has found New Zealand blackcurrants have high levels of a key nutrient that can support the brain as a person gets older.

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 a hormone which is essential for 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 older people. 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,” says Dr Guan. “It is a very exciting finding because it is something completely natural that can support your body and mind to stay healthy as you age.”

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 consuming blackcurrants.

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

Dr Guan has worked with New Zealand blackcurrant specialists Vitality ® New Zealand to develop a natural blackcurrant supplement that can be taken daily.

Brain Shield™ is a patented natural plant-based supplement formulated to deliver an average daily dose required to maintain an optimum level of cGP in the body as we age.

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 show this.

“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.”

Brain Shield™ is a combination of New Zealand blackcurrant and flax seed oil (Linseed), along with two stabilising minerals to complete the formulation. The flax seed oil delivers Omega 3 to complement the natural cGP found in blackcurrants.

“New Zealand blackcurrants really are a super fruit,” says Mr Grierson. “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 supporting properties found naturally in our blackcurrants and we are excited to see what other benefits that may come to light in our ongoing research.”

The hormone that cGP normalises is called Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) which is key to whole of body health and wellness.

Dr Guan has been commissioned by Vitality New Zealand to continue and advance her research into cGP and its connection to New Zealand blackcurrants.

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