Anti-pollution 'smart drink': Blackcurrant beverage to be developed and tested for improved lung function and athletic performance

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Athletic performance has been found to improve after consumption of New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins. GettyImages
Athletic performance has been found to improve after consumption of New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins. GettyImages

Related tags: blackcurrant, New zealand, Sports nutrition, Lung function

A new blackcurrant anti-pollution 'smart drink' from New Zealand is to be created and assessed for its potential to combat air pollution and improve performance in athletes as part of an industry/academia collaboration.

Dr Andrea Braakhuis from the University of Auckland has received $122,160.00 of funding from the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge and industry partner Ārepa for a 24 month project, which will develop and test a new anti-pollution smart drink to combat the effects of air pollution and improve aspects of performance.

Air pollution, including smog and ozone, has been estimated to be responsible for several millions of deaths worldwide each year, the majority of which are attributed to cardiovascular causes.

Regular aerobic exercise is recommended by physicians to improve health and longevity. However, people exercising in urban regions are often in contact with air pollution, which includes particles and gases associated with respiratory distress, poor lung function and irritation.

To date, little is known about how air pollution and exercise together affect lung function, and to what extent dietary or specific products nutritional properties can help mitigate its effects.

Dr Braakhuis and her team will work with Ārepa, a New Zealand based food-technology company that currently produces a ‘natural smart drink’, which claims to boost cognitive health.

Specific variant

One of the main ingredients in Ārepa is Neuroberry blackcurrants, a specific variant of the berry unique to New Zealand.

“We propose to develop and test a smart drink containing key nutrients thought to improve athletic performance and lung function,”​ said Dr Braakhuis.

“The idea is to support those exercising and living in polluted environments. We believe that by incorporating the exercising public into our study, this will allow research to be conducted on a poorly investigated topic and assist the development of a new smart drink to assist the exercising public to better deal with air pollution,”​ she said.

Data from previous studies has shown improvements in cognitive function in athletes given Ārepa, and athletic performance has been found to improve after consumption of New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanins. 

“The anthocyanin-rich berries grown in New Zealand are anti-inflammatory and contain bioactive compounds that may support lung function for those exercising in polluted environments,”​ said Dr Braakhuis.

“We propose to develop a product with blackcurrant and other ingredients that are likely to support optimal athletic performance and lung function,” she says. This will be an extension to the current successful product line of Ārepa."

Joanne Todd, HVN National Science Challenge Director, said the project fitted in well with the project's Immune Health stream, as it specifically targetted the effects of air pollution on lung function, immunity and inflammatory processes.

The HVN Challenge is a research programme dedicated to health and wellbeing attributes of New Zealand produced foods for major export markets. 

Related news

Related products

show more

Accelerate your supply chain as pressures intensify

Accelerate your supply chain as pressures intensify

William Reed | 03-Oct-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Food, Drink and Non-Food manufacturers are under pressure. Range reviews, massive retail mergers, the backlash against plastic packaging and the ongoing...

Exploring Fibre Fermentation Profiles

Exploring Fibre Fermentation Profiles

ProDigest developed the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®), which explores the fermentation profiles of fibres and evaluates...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars

Food & Beverage Trailblazers

F&B Trailblazers Podcast