Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CurraNZ

The ‘trickle down’ effect applies to all areas of life these days, whether it’s technology developed for Formula One finding its way onto road cars or Virtual Reality games designed for soldiers hitting your new Playstation console. And sport is no different.

One area that’s seen a massive explosion in the sports scene recently is (legal!) supplementation for recovery and performance. A number of products have hit the market in recent years claiming to prolong performance, delay fatigue or overcome lactic build-up.

And there seems to be no shortage of demand for these solutions from amateur athletes. I guess it’s no surprise, given that many of us hold down busy full-time jobs and live hectic lifestyles. We want to perform like pros but we don’t have the luxury of the same quality time for training and (just as importantly) recovery. So while we can’t mimic their recovery routines in full (God knows I’d love to spend the afternoon in bed or with my feet up watching TV!), we’re increasingly looking to the same tricks they use to enhance recovery and performance. It’s almost like the trickle-down effect in sport.

One of the most recent entries to this market is CurraNZ, a 100% natural supplement made from blackcurrants (or more specifically, New Zealand blackcurrants). The makers claim that NZ blackcurrants have the highest anti-oxidant properties of any food, outperforming the likes of blueberries, boysenberries and more. The claim is that the polyphenols and anti-oxidants offer anti-inflammatory, immune-promoting and antimicrobial effects.

According to www.healthcurrancy.co.uk, the UK distributors of CurraNZ, science has shown blackcurrants to: “improve blood circulation to peripheral muscles, protect against oxidative stress, reduce muscle fatigue and boost endurance, making it a powerful supplement for sports people wishing to achieve improved performance and recovery.”

In use

CurraNZ comes in capsule form and the usual dosage is one per day. As sod’s law would dictate, the day after I started the test, I was (mis) diagnosed with a broken arm (which later turned out to be a trapped nerve and tissue damage) and I thought I’d have to postpone the test. Instead, the guys at

CurraNZ actually suggested I doubled the daily dose as they believed it would help speed the recovery process.

As we now know, the arm was not in fact broken. But after four days of double-dosing the CurraNZ (and admittedly being in a LOT of pain with the arm), I found myself regaining movement and strength. Now, whether or not CurraNZ had anything to do with the speed of the recovery is of course impossible to tell…

But at least the recovery did allow me to get back to training much more quickly than the six weeks I was originally told to wait.

At this point, I think it’s important to differentiate between different types of soreness after training. In my experience (and I’m no sports scientist, so I could be completely wrong here), there’s muscle soreness caused by lactic build up (long runs, hard bike intervals etc), there’s muscle soreness from the tears caused by resistance training (and maybe things like hill sprints where your calves take a battering), and then there is joint soreness. I am sure someone more qualified than me can explain it better…

The main point I’m trying to make here is that soreness can be caused by different things and so expecting one supplement to effectively address all of these is perhaps unrealistic.

From the month-long test I did, CurraNZ did have an effect in helping speed the recovery from longer runs and harder bike rides (not so much full-on sprints or repeated max effort intervals – perhaps see above…). I did find that the day after such training sets, I didn’t feel as sore in the muscles and I was ready to go again. Even one the odd occasion where I did feel sore in the morning, I still felt that I was able to perform better in the coming session than I normally would.

What CurraNZ did not help me with is things like joint soreness. I always get mildly sore ankles after a run of more than 20km or so. That didn’t change (although as above, I was still able to train the next day). Similarly, DOMS caused by heavy weights sessions were still there.

But, as an endurance athlete, volume is an important factor and I can honestly say that I felt able to put in more volume with CurraNZ. Specifically, I was able to train effectively again the day after long runs or heavy sessions.

Verdict

In reality, I only managed to test CurraNZ for about 20 days, due to the double-dosing mentioned earlier during my injury. I think a longer period of testing would be required to draw any more concrete conclusions. But I’d have to say the initial signs are good.

My last capsule was taken on the morning of the Pewsey Terminator (a 20km evil cross-country running race) and I can promise you I was pretty darned sore on the following morning as I stared at the empty blister pack!

Ideally I’d like another eight weeks or so supply and then re-do my cycle FTP test from a few weeks back and see what sort of increase I can achieve. I have an idea what I’m targeting in terms of a power increase through training, so it would be interesting to see whether supplementing with CurraNZ over a longer period would help me exceed this target. This would be a good test of CurraNZ’s claim that 10-mile Time Triallers improved their times by up to 8.6% with the supplement.

At £29 for a 30-capsule pack, CurraNZ is not overly expensive. If you’re a time-pressed athlete looking for the extra edge, it’s certainly worth a look and it is reassuring to know that all you’re taking on-board is naturally-available ingredients; no man-made chemicals.

For more information on CurraNZ in the UK, visit www.healthcurrancy.co.uk