Backing blackcurrant for brain health: Kiwi firm Vitality Wellness sets sights on international expansion

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Vitality Wellness blackcurrant-based range.
The Vitality Wellness blackcurrant-based range.
Kiwi firm Vitality Wellness is gunning for success in Asian markets with its blackcurrant-based Brain Shield supplement, which contains high levels of cyclic Glycine-Proline (cGP).

cGP is a key brain nutrient that normalises Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which is vital for cognitive function. Indeed, research has shown that IGF-1 cannot fully function if there is a shortage of cGP.

Studies in relation to Parkinson disease (PD) have shown that blackcurrant anthocyanin extract can lift levels of (cGP) to accepted baseline levels within 30 days of a measured daily dose via a dietary supplement.

However, it has also been found blackcurrant concentrate, which the firm uses, has four times the level of cGP compared to blackcurrant extract.

The firm’s sales director Michael Dunsire told us: “The known effects of shortages of cGP  are well researched alongside the importance of the IGF-1 functions that are necessary for good health.

“We have investigated a range of fruit and vegetables such as blueberry, bilberry, elderberry, cranberry, tart cherry extract, beetroot, purple carrot, wheat and sea weed extract, as well as other commercial products, but all of which showed very little, if any, cGP.

“We want our line of products derived from New Zealand  blackcurrant extract and seed oil to be made available to everyone as a healthier alternative to the extensive use of antibiotics that pervade modern society.

“By consuming plant-based anthocyanins in combination with vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fatty acids such as Omega 3, 6 and 9, we want to share with the world all the health benefits of New Zealand blackcurrant that their families and themselves have been benefitting for years.”

Scientific evidence

Dunsire pointed to a raft of studies, which the company believes shows the cognitive-boosting potential of blackcurrants, but crucially only those that originate from New Zealand.

“Studies include those demonstrating that the consumption of blackcurrant juice improves alertness and lowers fatigue, and a New Zealand Plant and Food studies suggest a potential role for the consumption of berry fruit polyphenols in improving human cognitive performance,”​ he added.

“These studies have been supported by further research which examines the mechanisms involved in the development of brain diseases, several of which indicate that berry consumption, in particular blackcurrant consumption, may play a role in preventing the onset of many debilitating brain diseases.”

In addition to its flagship Brain Shield product, which contains 250 mg New Zealand Blackcurrant Concentrate. 470mg New Zealand flaxseed oill (>60% Omega 3) and 30 mg DMG, the company also has blackcurrant-based finished products for skin, eye, muscle and womens’ health.

The company has now opened a registered business in Singapore and is looking to expand across South East Asia and further afield.

Dunsire added: “Cognitive health is a major global concern. There are 1.7m new cases of Parkinsons’ Disease each year in China alone, and 1m in the US.

“We will be continuing our R&D programme to achieve confirmation of the probable slowing-down of the progression and/or prevention of dementia.”

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