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Study shows grape extract enhances athletic performance

A recent study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, September 2009 edition, demonstrates the effect of a grape extract in enhancing antioxidant status and physical performance in elite male athletes.

Powergrape is a plant extract obtained from grapes produced on Bordeaux vines which feature a special composition of polyphenols that protect against oxidative stress.

This new clinical study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study involving 20 athletes from different sports (handball, basketball, sprint, and volleyball). After one month of supplementation with 400 mg of Powergrape per day, scientists observed the following in athletes:

Improvements in the antioxidant status of the body measured by ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) and FRAP (ferric reducing and antioxidant power) methods, and reduction of oxidative stress induced by physical exercise.

Reduction of cell damage in muscle and plasma during physical exercise, as suggested by the decrease of creatine phosphokinase (CpK) and the increase of haemoglobin concentrations in plasma.

The report states that excessive physical exercise overproduces reactive oxygen species: “Even if elite sportsmen increase their antioxidant status by regular physical training; during the competition period, this improvement is not sufficient to limit free radical production which could be detrimental to the body. The aim of this study on elite sportsmen during the competition period was to determine if the consumption of a grape extract was able to improve the parameters related to anti-oxidative status and oxidative stress and physical performance. Specific biomarkers of antioxidant capacity, oxidative stress, skeletal cell muscle damage, and other general biomarkers were determined in plasma and urine before and after one month of placebo or grape extract supplementation.”

The trial showed that consumption of grape extract standardised in flavanols improves the antioxidant status balance in elite athletes during a competition period. The administration of grape extract seems to protect cells against oxidative stress damage, as suggested by the decrease in CpK concentration and the increase of haemoglobin levels in plasma. This evidence suggests that the enhancement in performance might be caused, at least in part, by the protective action of grape extract during physical exercise.

Sharon Bolel of Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing, the sole distributor of Naturex products in South Africa, says the results of this clinical trial verify the findings of several studies commissioned by Naturex since Powergrape was first developed. These studies, which include an in vitro study; a prospective, double blind clinical study; and a randomised, cross-over, double-blind clinical trial against placebo, have shown that Powergrape has high antioxidant capacity in vitro; that taking 400 mg of Powergrape per day for 21 days as a supplement improved the antioxidant status of the volunteers, it improves performance and recovery, and it does not affect the individual’s iron status.

These results position Powergrape as a valuable asset to professional sportsmen during competition, and have helped to earn Powergrape the Informed-Sport certification, guaranteeing that it does not contain any forbidden doping substance. That means that Powergrape is regularly tested for World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned substances by HFL Sport Science, the world’s largest accredited sports drug surveillance and research laboratory, with more than 40 years of leadership in doping control in sport.

“This certification, together with the new clinical study results, confirms that Powergrape is a natural and safe health and performance-enhancing ingredient that is perfectly suited for use in elite sports nutrition,” says Bolel.

Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing; www.sharonbolel.co.za

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