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Simon Fryer, Craig Paterson, Ian C. Perkins, Chris Gloster, Mark E.T. Willems and Julia A. Potter

The delivery to and utilization of oxygenated hemoglobin to the forearm muscles are key determinants of rock-climbing performance. Anthocyanin-rich New Zealand blackcurrant (NZBC) has been suggested to improve blood flow and may enhance forearm endurance performance. As such, a double-blind, randomized crossover design study with 12 participants performed submaximal intermittent contractions (at 40% maximal voluntary contraction) to failure after a 7-day intake of 600 mg/day NZBC extract or placebo. Minimum tissue saturation index (TSI%) was assessed during the contractions. During recovery, time to half recovery of TSI% and brachial artery blood flow were assessed. There was no difference in time to exhaustion between NZBC and placebo. Minimum TSI% was lower with NZBC extract (43 ± 8 vs. 50 ± 11 TSI%; p = .007; Cohen’s d = 1.01). During recovery, there was no effect on brachial artery blood flow. However, time to half recovery was faster with NZBC (26 ± 17 vs. 42 ± 26 s; p = .001; Cohen’s d = 1.3) following exhaustive contractions. Seven days of NZBC extract appears to improve muscle oxygenation during and following contractions with no change in either arterial blood flow or forearm endurance performance.

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Ian Craig Perkins, Sarah Anne Vine, Sam David Blacker and Mark Elisabeth Theodorus Willems

We examined the effect of New Zealand blackcurrant (NZBC) extract on high-intensity intermittent running and postrunning lactate responses. Thirteen active males (age: 25 ± 4 yrs, height: 1.82 ± 0.07 m, body mass: 81 ± 14 kg, V̇O2max: 56 ± 4 ml∙kg-1∙min-1, v V̇O2max: 17.6 ± 0.8 km∙h-1) performed a treadmill running protocol to exhaustion, which consisted of stages with 6 × 19 s of sprints with 15 s of low-intensity running between sprints. Interstage rest time was 1 min and stages were repeated with increasing sprint speeds. Subjects consumed capsuled NZBC extract (300 mg∙day-1 CurraNZ; containing 105 mg anthocyanin) or placebo for 7 days (double-blind, randomized, crossover design, wash-out at least 14 days). Blood lactate was collected for 30 min postexhaustion. NZBC increased total running distance by 10.6% (NZBC: 4282 ± 833 m, placebo: 3871 ± 622 m, p = .02), with the distance during sprints increased by 10.8% (p = .02). Heart rate, oxygen uptake, lactate and rating of perceived exertion were not different between conditions for the first 4 stages completed by all subjects. At exhaustion, blood lactate tended to be higher for NZBC (NZBC: 6.01 ± 1.07 mmol∙L-1, placebo: 5.22 ± 1.52 mmol∙L-1, p = .07). There was a trend for larger changes in lactate following 15 min (NZBC: -2.89 ± 0.51 mmol∙L-1, placebo: -2.46 ± 0.39 mmol∙L-1, p = .07) of passive recovery. New Zealand blackcurrant extract (CurraNZ) may enhance performance in sports characterized by high-intensity intermittent exercise as greater distances were covered with repeated sprints, there was higher lactate at exhaustion, and larger changes in lactate during early recovery after repeated sprints to exhaustion.