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Source: Massey University


Is there a correlation between blackcurrant juice, caffeine and sports performance? A Massey study is seeking the answer.


Professor Ajmol Ali.

A study being run out of Massey’s School of Sport and Exercise Science is looking to find out whether a blackcurrant juice and caffeine combination will benefit sports performance in male athletes.

The study is being led by Professor Ajmol Ali, with funding from The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research and in partnership with 2Before Performance Nutrition Ltd, a New Zealand-based performance nutrition company.

The study sits within The Beverage Lab – a team of experienced food technologists, bicohemists and sport and exercise scientists providing academic facilitated solutions with a focus on health, wellness and performance.

Professor Ali says New Zealand blackcurrants contain the highest levels of anthocyanins in the world, and have been shown to reduce cell damange, reduce inflammation, and enhance blood flow. “Published science has already shown that exercise performance improves with blackcurrant supplementation in a variety of settings, including running/sprinting, intermittent exercise, and rock climbing.”

In terms of caffeine, it is one of the most widely-used psychoactive drugs in the world due to its accessibility, evidenced ergogenic effects and few negative side effects. Professor Ali adds that since its removal from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list in 2004, the use of caffeine as an ergogenic aid has increased significantly, particularly in endurance athletes.

“Both blackcurrant and caffeine seem to afford greater benefits to athletes when they are in a fatigued state, therefore it would be reasonable to assume that adding caffeine to a blackcurrant juice will provide greater performance benefit considering the different mechanisms of action.”

The beverage will be provided to previously fatigued male athletes, and their performance and metabolic parameters examined through exercise tests that simulate a high-intensity team sport like football, rugby or hockey.

The research team is currently looking for male athletes based in Auckland aged between 18 and 45 years to participate in the study. Participation will include athletic tests such as the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test as well as oxygen uptake testing and other general health tests. Participants must be available between now and June and able to attend early morning and early evening laboratory sessions on Massey’s Albany campus.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Darrien Holten at: D.Holten@massey.ac.nz or via mobile on 021 0279 2338.

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