A study by Plant & Food Research has shown that an extract of New Zealand blackcurrants enriched in anthocyanins can help people stay more alert, reduce mental fatigue and work with greater accuracy whilst 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 to placebo, after taking the extract from Just the Berries Limited participants worked more accurately without slowing down, 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,” says Dr Arjan Scheepens, the study leader. “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 will launch the product in May under the brand delcyan™ and market it as both a validated functional food ingredient and as a consumer product.
Farmaceuticals or nutriceuticals – plant and animal based treatments – tick the natural box which many consumers want and have great potential for boosting returns for farmers and horticulturists.