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Cyclists outperform in Ārepa's new Clinical Trial

August 24, 2023 3 min read

Cyclists outperform in Ārepa's new Clinical Trial

Can Ārepa's Neuroberry blackcurrants enhance lung function in ozone-dense environments? This exact question sparked the curiosity of scientific researchers at Ārepa. The reason being, many densely populated metropolises are known for varying levels of pollution, which significantly affect athletic performance. When it comes to elite-level competition, even the tiniest differences in performance become of utmost importance. 

Although the study primarily examined performance in elite athletes, its findings on reducing the impact of pollution are relevant to all individuals. This holds particularly true for those who regularly exercise in polluted urban environments. This aspect of the study is truly inspiring as it presents potential advantages for everyone, irrespective of their athletic abilities.


Ozone, a potent oxidant gas, is a key component of air pollution found primarily in metropolitan areas. Its presence leads to respiratory tract irritation, compromising lung function and hindering exercise capacity and performance. This discomfort challenges individuals and diminishes their potential to excel.

When athletes train outdoors, they often face increased exposure to air pollutants, making them more vulnerable to the harmful effects. During exercise, a larger volume of air is breathed in, leading to a greater intake of pollutants that penetrate deeper into the lungs. Research investigating the connection between ozone exposure, athletic performance, and lung function reveals that both aerobic capacity and lung function are negatively influenced by poor air quality and ozone exposure. Furthermore, it suggests that continuous exercise exacerbates these effects.

Polyphenols, found in high levels in Ārepa, have shown promising effects in large population studies. These studies have indicated a reduction in respiratory disease, respiratory decline, and respiratory symptoms. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanins, sub-classes of polyphenols, have also been found to alleviate lung inflammation.

Ārepa's Neuroberry blackcurrants (BCs) are meticulously analysed to ensure their remarkable antioxidant activity. They are recognized as one of the leading dietary sources of anthocyanins. Previous research has demonstrated that BC supplementation enhances cycling performance in normal air conditions. However, this groundbreaking study focuses on the effects of polyphenol supplementation on exercise performance in trained athletes exposed to high ozone levels.

With this objective in mind, the study aims to investigate the efficacy of a 7-day polyphenol supplementation regimen on cycling time trial performance and respiratory function. The study will recruit healthy male adults engaging in exercise in an ozone-rich environment.

The Study

The study employed a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design. Participants made three visits to the laboratory. All subjects completed the following: (i) an incremental test to exhaustion (V̇O2max) and familiarisation, and (ii) two exercise testing trials in an ozone polluted environment after seven days of either placebo (PL) or blackcurrant supplementation (PB).

During the first laboratory visit, cyclists underwent an incremental ramp test to determine their maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max). After a 10-minute rest, they proceeded to a 4 km time trial (TT). The incremental test and familiarisation took place in an environmentally controlled laboratory with ambient air conditions. The ozone trials were conducted in a sealed environmental chamber, with an ozone level set at 0.25 ppm, a value which many cities worldwide experience. Between each supplement regime, there was a 14-day washout period. The study utilised a standardised dose of 4.3 mg/kg anthocyanins in a polyphenol blend supplementation.


Following PB supplementation, there was a significant increase in V̇O2 max during the 4 km TT, as well as higher mean power in the first kilometre compared to PL. The importance of a higher VO₂ max lies in its ability to enhance oxygen consumption and optimise energy generation.

Furthermore, the positive effects of PB supplementation were evident in the reduction of cough severity after 7 days. The researchers also observed lower scores for throat irritation, pain during deep breathing, and shortness of breath, both during the preload protocol and the 4 km TT.

On average, the time to complete the 4 km TT under pollution was 406.43 seconds for the PB group, and 426.20 seconds for the PL group. Although not statistically significant, there is a clear effect. Notably, the PB group was only 1.86% slower when subject to pollution compared to their ambient air performance, whereas the PL group experienced a substantial 6.18% decline.

The significant findings and observable patterns in the data suggest that polyphenols, particularly at the levels found in Ārepa, may mitigate the negative impact on physical performance often associated with polluted environments. This facilitates more beneficial training and greater performance outcomes, even in large cities coping with increased ozone concentrations.

Read the full study on the European Journal of Applied Physiology here


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