Blackcurrant extract helps work stress: NZ study

A Plant & Food Research study shows that an extract of local blackcurrants can help people stay more alert and reduce mental fatigue.

Blackcurrants can help manage busy workdays, New Zealand research suggests.

A study by Plant & Food Research has shown that an extract of local blackcurrants enriched in anthocyanins can help people stay more alert, reduce mental fatigue and work with greater accuracy while under significant mental stress.

In the randomised, double blind study, 35 healthy young participants were asked to complete 70-minute computerised assessments designed to demand attention and to be mentally fatiguing, such as watching a series of random numbers and responding when three consecutive odd numbers appeared.

The trial found that, compared with placebo, Just the Berries participants worked more accurately without slowing down after taking the extract and felt more alert and less mentally fatigued after the test.

“We know that there are compounds in dark berry fruits, like blackcurrants, that have real effects on people’s health and wellbeing,” study lead Dr Arjan Scheepens says.

“We found that, compared to a placebo, taking an enriched blackcurrant extract before performing stressful mental tests helped trial participants maintain accuracy, and that their mental fatigue was significantly reduced.

“Our next stage is to identify exactly which compounds are creating this effect, and using this knowledge to develop new whole and processed foods or ingredients that deliver optimised performance.”

• Just the Berries launched the product this month under the brand Delcyan and markets it as both a validated functional food ingredient and as a consumer product.