Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Could Sujon’s Blackcurrant Powder assist with anti-aging: latest UK-Japan research suggests yes and why!
Sujon’s Blackcurrant powder is best known as an elite food among elite global athletes. Iron-man champion Terenzo Bozzone is an example of those who believe in its dietary importance.
The powder idea was born from meeting the needs of the Netherlands elite Olympic ski squad training in Queenstown: they wanted the benefit of Sujon’s blackcurrants but eating frozen berries was simply not practical (even on a ski slope!).
So the berries were crushed and encapsulated and were wonderfully easy to carry and consume when needed.
Although most research has focused on blackcurrant powder benefits to sports people, some early research, especially in Japan, had looked at the potential of blackcurrants to protect oxidative stress from UV and the like.
One research project suggested that something in New Zealand-grown blackcurrants might stop oxidation of the skin-cell DNA from sunburn.
So, could the science we had learned from working with athletes be applied to people generally and could this suggest an anti-aging value in our blackcurrant powder?
Aging has been described simplistically as the degradation of cellular DNA over time throughout the body, affecting both mental and physical abilities and states. This DNA degradation is facilitated by oxidative stress. (Oxidative stress is also a key factor in our athlete-based sport recovery research.)
Much global research has looked at how foods could slow (or even reverse?) DNA degradation. But although laboratory research can show antioxidant capability in foods the key question is whether or not such antioxidant activity can happen at a meaningful level at the cellular level in a living human.
And so we moved from the ski-field to the retirement village:
A visit to an old-folks home is often associated with an awareness of an unpleasant body odour in the home. This body odour is from the emission of a skin gas, 2-nonenal. This gas results from the oxidative stress-induced lipid peroxidation of fatty acids in sebaceous glands. This peroxidation is believed to be the result of age-related decline in antioxidant defence in the body.
Late last year we approached pre-eminent blackcurrant science researcher, Professor Mark Willems at Chichester University, and suggested the hypothesis that blackcurrants might reduce “old-person body odour”. He agreed and teams from Chichester and Worcester Universities in the UK, working with a team from Tokai University in Japan, undertook human clinical trials on the use of blackcurrants to reduce age-induced body odour.
The just-completed trials ( using the same Sujon Blackcurrant powder available to NZ consumers) showed that the powder reduced skin emission of 2-nonenal in older adults by 28%.
So the hypothesis has been confirmed and suggests future direction for research that could prove the potential of blackcurrant to reduce lipid peroxidation in human cells: positively affecting cell biology and human health; and as a result, aging itself!