Black Currant supplement health benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D. Subscribe to a FREE integrative medicine newsletter
April 12 2014

Black current seed oil is available as a supplement. Some people use black current seed oil as a source of GLA. For more information on berries.

Blackcurrants for better vision?
Blackcurrants contain anthocyanosides that have beneficial properties in terms of antioxidant potential. A small study indicates they may boost night vision. For a natural product that improves day and night vision, see
Eyesight-Rx.

Products
Health From The Sun Black Currant, 500 mg, 180 Soft Gels
Unrefined Black Currant
Omega-3 + GLA
Skin Health
Dietary Supplement

Antioxidant value of black currant
Antioxidant capacity of black currant varies with organ, season, and cultivar.
J Agric Food Chem. 2006. Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Unit, University of Liege, Sart Tilman, Belgium.
Small berries such as black currant constitute one of the important sources of potential health-promoting phytochemicals because these fruits are rich sources of compounds with high antioxidant properties. In this work, antioxidant capacities of different parts (buds, leaves, fruits) of various black currant cultivars were compared throughout the growing season with the aim to prepare extracts with high antioxidant capacity. Buds (opened, at the end of March) and leaves (in June) had a higher content in phenolics and antioxidants than fully ripened berries (in July) and the best yield (per branch) was obtained with the leaves collected in June due to their higher biomass. The differences observed among the eight black currant cultivars tested were small. Concerning flavonols, quercetin was dominant in all organs and cultivars, myricetin varied widely among the cultivars, and kampferol was very low.

Black currant seed oil
There are two types of currant seed oil in the market: refined and unrefined. Can you please tell me which one is better to use.
    We don't have much experience with currant seed oil, but our impression would be that unrefined currant seed oil would be preferable.

Q. I'd like to know if i'm taking black currant oil with linoleic acid is there any sense in taking CLA too? What is it about CLA, if anything, that may be beneficial about taking it in addition to BCO? Is it better for weight loss than BCO? What does the 'conjulgated' bit do for you? Also, I was told years ago when I did a food allergy test that I was moderately allergic to flaxseed oil. I would like to take a combination omega 3-6-9 (I'm a believer in taking oils) but they all have flaxseed oil instead of black current oil so I take fish oil for EPA and DHA, BCO for ALA, and starflower oil for GLA, but I'd rather just take one combination 3-6-9. Do you think it's the flaxseed oil itself that one would normally be allergic to or is it what's in it (e.g., the ALA and GLA)?
    A. Allergy to flaxseed oil is extremely uncommon and it is better to get a second opinion as to whether there is a true allergy. It is extremely uncommon to be allergic to some of these fatty acids. There is no correct or simple answer as to the best oil to be used by any one individual since each person's diet and metabolism is different. I am not impressed by CLA as a weight loss pill. My preference is to use more fish oils than other types of oil.

Dr. Barry Sears (Toxic Fat) advocates the necessity of supplementing with GLA when taking fish oil. BUT he says it is detrimental to take more than 1/100 as much as the fish oil dose. I can’t find any other support for this instruction. He implies that taking even the minimum amount of GLA (that is usually recommended by experts) will cause an increase in Arachidonic Acid: 1 capsule of Black Currant Seed oil averages 75mg of GLA. To meet his criteria The EPA / DHA would have to be 7500mg. Thank you for a wonderful website.
    Each person has a different diet and different metabolism. I prefer not to use such strict numbers and guidelines. I also think, as a rule, most people would benefit from additional EPA and DHA and taking GLA is not needed by most individuals.

Press release by Cyvex Nutrition raw material supplier
2007 -  Cyvex Nutrition has stepped up its supply of Black Currant Extract powder standardized to 25 percent anthocyanins. Black Currant has been shown to provide support to vision health. One study, for example, demonstrated that the anthocyanins in black currant influenced the regeneration of rhodopsin. “There is strengthening scientific interest and commercial excitement surrounding black currant and its health potential,” says Charlene Lee, executive vice president and general manager of Cyvex Nutrition. “Our Black Currant Extract is the most potent berry extract available on the market providing enhanced levels of anthocyanins.” Lee adds that Black Currant Extract is not only a superior source of berry antioxidants and anthocyanins, it is a more economically friendly choice as well. “In the marketplace, black currant is less expensive, making it a terrific choice for vision support and antioxidant formulas.” Black Currant Extract from Cyvex Nutrition is one of the newer additions to Cyvex’ growing portfolio of specific antioxidants for health promotion products. For more than 23 years, Cyvex Nutrition has continued its leadership role in pioneering antioxidant raw materials. 1. Matsumoto H, et al (2003) “Stimulatory effect of cyanidin 3-glycosides on the regeneration of rhodopsin.” J Agric Food Chem. 51, 3560-3.
   Comments: We will await human research with black currant extract to see how well this raw material works for eyesight improvement.

Press release by Jarrow Formulas
2008 - Los Angeles-based Jarrow Formulas announces 2 new blackcurrant offerings. In addition to its Blackcurrant plus Lutein and Pomegranate + Blackcurrant concentrate products, Jarrow introduces Blackcurrant capsules and Blackcurrant concentrate to its blackcurrant category. The introduction of Blackcurrant capsules and Blackcurrant concentrate is a significant addition to the existing blackcurrant offerings because it allows consumers a convenient standalone choice among Jarrow Formulas’ blackcurrant supplements. Blackcurrant capsules contain blackcurrant freeze-dried extract, consisting of anthocyanins specifically studied for promoting eye comfort and antioxidant protection. New Zealand blackcurrant is an antioxidant-rich berry due to the high content of polyphenol pigments (anthocyanosides) that lend the berries their rich purple color. Its capacity in reducing the oxidative damage caused by free radicals and reactive oxygen species, such as hydrogen peroxide, is similar to that of blueberry. Blackcurrants are particularly noted for their protective effects on eye health, eye discomfort and visual fatigue, especially eye fatigue associated with chronic exposure to computer and television screens. These effects may be due to its high concentration of the polyphenols delphinidin-3-rutinoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside. New Zealand blackcurrants often contain  more polyphenols than European blackcurrants and are free of pesticides. All of Jarrow Formulas blackcurrant offerings are made with 100% New Zealand blackcurrants.