It has been well over a year since I first wrote about CurraNZ (a New Zealand blackcurrant supplement from Health Currancy Ltd) and changes I noticed when I started taking it. In many ways, the past year had been one of my most consistent running-wise. You might not believe me if you just look up race results that are reported on websites such as the Power of 10, but at the start of the year I made the decision that I was not going to chase times and results, and instead try a few new things, get out of my comfort zone, and just generally enjoy myself.
During 2015 I have run on roads, I have run on trails, I have run in the mountains, and I have run XC. I have run during the daytime and I have run at nighttime and enjoyed doing so on 3 different continents. It has therefore been a very varied year, but CurraNZ has been a constant companion throughout, helping me to recover and to avoid injury. Just to put people's minds at rest, I also believe in clean sport and have undergone multiple random blood and urine tests over the course of the year whilst taking this supplement.
I have played with different dosing schedules for different events - during the multiday Dragon's Back race through the mountains of Wales, I took a capsule both before and after each day's running, but also put an extra dose into my lunchtime dropbag. This seemed to work for me as I got relatively stronger as the week progressed, moving up the field everyday as others tired, missed cutt-offs or developed injuries.
As this worked for me, I repeated the process (more or less) when I ran the 100K at the World Champs (though I did pre-load with 2 capsules/day for a couple of days beforehand). I took my usual pre-run capsule but also carried another to take after about 4 hours - note to self.....however well you think you have wrapped up a capsule of CurraNZ, if you're carrying it in your top and throwing copious amounts of water over yourself to keep cool, then you are likely to develop interesting purple stains on your top! I fully admit that I faded over the last 20K of the race, but then again, I did run a new PB of almost 10 minutes....and was also able to go for a nice recovery run with our Team Managers the next day when most other participants could only manage a painful shuffle!!!
I have also looked into some of the other health benefits of the supplement - the anti-viral activity is the one that is the most beneficial to me. As a busy GP, I am probably exposed to more than my fair share or viruses, yet over the past 2 winters, I seem to have been affected by fewer of them than my colleagues. A few patients are also taking the capsules on the recommendation of our local menopause guru to gain relief from some of their debilitating flushes. My mother has also investigated some of the research into the effects on brain health, and so is going to give them a try....well, who wouldn't want to do all they could to keep their brain sharp as they age?
To return to the exercise side of things, there has been some exciting recent research looking more specifically at fat-burning during exercise. In a nutshell, it shows that CurraNZ is the first supplement ever found to have a profound effect on substrate oxidation - increasing fat oxidation (27%), and sparing carbohydrate expenditure (11%), so it may allow active people to exercise harder, recover faster, and burn more fat.
The dosing study shows that two capsules is optimal for endurance, not one, and so I know what I'll be taking in 2016.