A new study by Plant & Food Research has found that New Zealand blackcurrants enriched in anthocyanins are beneficial for staying alert, reducing mental fatigue and improving accuracy.
The randomised double-blind study saw 35 young, healthy participants complete computerised assessments that lasted for 70 minutes. These were designed to demand attention and be mentally fatiguing.
It found that, compared to the placebo, participants who took a blackcurrant extract provided by the company Just the Berries worked faster and more accurately. Furthermore, they felt more alert and less tired 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,” said study leader Dr Arjan Scheepens. “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.
Scheepens laid out the direction for further study. “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 intends to launch their product in May this year. The company will market it as both a validated functional food ingredient and as a consumer product, according to a Plant & Food Research press release.