New Zealand blackcurrant extract enhances muscle oxygenation during repeated intermittent forearm muscle contractions in advanced and elite rock climbers.
Eur J Sport Sci. 2020 Nov 17:1-9. Epub 2020 Nov 17. PMID: 33201779
Anthocyanin-rich New Zealand blackcurrant (NZBC) may improve forearm muscle oxygenation and enhance performance in high-level rock climbers. As such, using a double-blind, randomised, cross-over design study, twelve participants performed an oxidative capacity assessment, and two successive exhaustive exercise trials (submaximal forearm muscle contractions at 60% of their maximal volitional contraction). Each visit was conducted following 7-days intake of 600 mg·dayNZBC extract or placebo. Oxidative capacity was estimated by calculating the oxygen half time recovery using near infrared spectroscopy. Time to exhaustion (s), impulse (kg·s), and minimum tissue saturation index (min-TSI %) were assessed during both the exercise trials. Muscle oxidative capacity was greater with NZBC (mean difference [MD] = 5.3 s, 95% confidence intervals [95% CI] = 0.4-10.2 s;= 0.036; Cohen's= 0.94). During the exercise trials, there was an interaction for min-TSI % (time x condition,= 0.046;= 0.372), which indicated a greater level of oxygen extraction during trial two with NZBC extract (MD = 9%, 95% CI = 2-15%) compared to the placebo (MD = 2%, 95% CI = 1-7%). There was a decrease in time to exhaustion (<0.001, = 0.693) and impulse ( = 0.001, = 0.672) in exercise trial two, with no effect of NZBC extract. In high-level rock climbers 7-days NZBC extract improves forearm muscle oxygenation with no effect on isolated forearm muscle performance.Forearm muscle oxygenation has been shown to be an important determinant of rock-climbing performance. Finding ways in which athletes can improve forearm muscle oxygenation may enhance rock climbing performance. Previously, supplementation of New Zealand blackcurrant extract, which is rich in anthocyanins, has been shown to increase vasodilator function. However, it is not known whether New Zealand black currant extract supplementation can increase forearm muscle oxygenation and consequently performance in elite level climbers. Our study is the first to show that New Zealand blackcurrant extract significantly improves forearm muscle oxygenation in elite and advanced rock climbers with no change in forearm performance.