Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


NZ Blackcurrant Extract Could ‘turn Back The Clock Ten Years’ For Arterial Health

Internationally praised for its numerous health and fitness benefits, from performance to immunity, studies now reveal New Zealand blackcurrant extract could also provide clinically-significant cardioprotective effects after ‘turning back the clock ten years’ in a project on arterial health in adults.

Japan’s Nippon Sport Science University made the startling discovery after measuring the effect of the anthocyanin extract on arterial stiffness and blood pressure – powerful predictors of future cardiovascular events - in a group of healthy men and women aged 65 and over.

The group took blackcurrant for just seven days, with the clinically-relevant changes illustrating that if these changes were sustained with longer-term use, blackcurrant extract might offer a natural dietary means of reducing cardiovascular risk factors in the ageing population.

Cardiovascular disease-related mortality is one of the biggest health problems worldwide and strategies are needed for prevention.

The group of adults tested had no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, were non-smokers of healthy weight and did not take habitual exercise. They took two capsules (600mg) CurraNZ® blackcurrant supplement daily for seven days.

The tests showed CurraNZ® blackcurrant extract:

  • Reduced central blood pressure by an average 10mmHg
  • Reduced arterial stiffness in both the carotid and femoral arteries
  • Displayed ‘whole body’ improvements to vascular health

Hardening of the arteries occurs with age and is strongly influenced by diet and lifestyle factors. The condition can precede hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Growing evidence highlights that specific flavonoids from plant bioactive compounds naturally found in fruits can improve vascular function and arterial health.

Blackcurrants have particularly high concentrations of compounds called anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and are highly effective at improving blood flow.

The explanation for the berry’s anti-ageing effect on arterial function is unknown, but several studies on CurraNZ, a flagship international New Zealand blackcurrant extract supplement product, have highlighted its auspicious blood flow-promoting actions.

Multiple studies have shown that the supplement increases arterial blood flow 20%-35% in healthy individuals and significantly improves the output and volume of blood pumped around the body.

This study adds to the developing picture of its potential health benefits for adults. It is the second study to show that just using the supplement for a week can lower stress from the cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure in older adults to clinically significant degrees.

Dr Takanobu Okamoto, from the Nippon Sport Science University in Japan, who performed the study, says: “Intake of anthocyanin-rich blackcurrants might be beneficial for maintaining or improving cardiovascular health as an important non-pharmacological therapy to prevent cardiovascular diseases in older adults.”

Author and UK collaborator on the paper, Mark Willems, Professor of Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester, has led the majority of British research into New Zealand blackcurrant. He was surprised by the degree of changes observed after just one week of using the supplement.

The international expert on blackcurrant for sport and health says: “By improving the condition of the arteries you’re reducing the consequences of ageing on the vascular system. Blackcurrant is somehow making blood vessels younger again.

“The extract showed a surprising systemic effect and reduced the age of the arteries equivalent to ten years.”

Arterial stiffness occurs through accumulation of plaque deposits on the walls of the arteries, which leads to reduced function and blood flow. Unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits are also major contributors.

Smoking, high alcohol intake, lack of exercise, Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, obesity, stress and inflammatory conditions all contribute to arterial stiffness, which can be controlled by healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

Professor Willems adds: “Ageing is a process you cannot stop but with the right nutrition and other lifestyle choices, you can age more healthily. These observations show that blackcurrants can support vascular health in a short period and to a surprising degree. It adds to the scientific picture that New Zealand blackcurrant extract can be highly beneficial for healthy ageing.

“These results have clinical significance, but for a permanent change, we need to see the effect of longer-term consumption.”

There is reason to hope that regular, daily consumption of blackcurrant extract could elicit sustained health benefits and aid cardiovascular function. Previous work by Professor Willems has found that intake periods of longer than seven days is even more beneficial for improving cardiovascular responses and lowering blood pressure in healthy individuals during exercise.

The study with older adults in Japan also measured blood serum lipids but found no changes, but the duration of the study is likely to have been too brief to have shown an effect.

The study, Effects of blackcurrant extract on arterial functions in older adults: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial, was accepted in the journal Clinical and Experimental Hypertension.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Tiwai Point: Rio Tinto Announces Plans To Close Tiwai Point Smelter

Rio Tinto has just announced that it will wind down New Zealand Aluminium Smelters - the Tiwai Point smelter - saying the business is no longer viable. More>>


Freight: New Report On Auckland Port Relocation

The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. More>>


Chartered Accountants: COVID-19 Fails To Knock Kiwi Investor Confidence, But More Disclosure Wanted

Three months of COVID-19 lockdown and investment turmoil has done little to knock confidence in New Zealand capital markets and listed companies with overall investor sentiment very similar to 2019, an investor survey held in mid June shows. However, ... More>>


Taxation: Black-Market Tobacco Sidesteps $287 Million In Excise Tax

Year-on-year increases in consumption of illicit tobacco in New Zealand have seen illegal trade swell to 11.5% of the total market. If consumed legally, illicit products would have netted the Government $287 million in excise tax during 2019. Independent ... More>>


Energy Sector: Meridian Spilled Water To Hike Electricity Prices - Authority Ruling

The Electricity Authority has found that generator Meridian Energy manipulated the power market, costing consumers about $80 million. More>>


XE Data Update: RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision

The RBNZ will keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25%. T he key points in the RBNZ statement are: RBNZ keeps the OCR unchanged at 0.25% Maintain the LSAP (large scale asset purchase) at NZD$60 billion. Committee prepared to use additional monetary ... More>>


Electricity: Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power

Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric Co are joint winners of Canstar Blue’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Electricity Providers From putting on an extra layer – rather than turning on a heater – to turning off lights and choosing the energy-saving ... More>>


Electricity: Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future

The Electricity Authority has decided on new guidelines for transmission pricing. James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive of the Electricity Authority says the new guidelines will deliver significant benefits to consumers, through lower electricity ... More>>


RNZ: Economic Activity And Business Confidence Bouncing Back

Two surveys from ANZ show business confidence and economic activity have rebounded, but uncertainty about the future remains extreme. More>>


NIWA: The Climate Record That Keeps Getting Broken

Among the multitude of New Zealand climate statistics there is one record that continues to be broken month after month. Since January 2017 there has not been one month that recorded a below average nationwide temperature, according to NIWA’s seven station ... More>>


Govt: Extended Loan Scheme Keeps Business Afloat

Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small ... More>>


Science: 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced

The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been announced in a digital livestream event today. The Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the ... More>>


RNZ: Fuel, Alcohol Costs To Go Up From Today

The increase today in the taxes on fuel, road user charges and alcohol is being called a tone-deaf move. More>>


Stardome Observatory: Young Kiwi Astro-Photographer Shoots For The Stars

Matariki by Josh Kirkley. The stars are aligning for up-and-coming Auckland-based astro-photographer Josh Kirkley (Kāi Tahu). During lockdown, one of his images was picked up by NASA and shared on the space agency’s Instagram to its 59.2 million ... More>>

DCANZ: Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker’s statement that it is unacceptable for New Zealand exporters to continue facing an ‘unlevel playing field’ in the EU. Details leaked ... More>>


New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>