Black Currant Promotes Brain Health

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Blueberries, which currently hold the spotlight for supporting brain health, appear to have a new rival — black currants.

Why? A recent study showed that black currant enriched with anthocyanins improved measures of mood and cognitive health. Anthocyanins are potent plant pigments with antioxidant, antibacterial, anticancer, and antidiabetic properties.

The results were published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

Black Currant Improved Mood, Attention, and Reduced Mental Fatigue

Black currants are not trendy in the US. They’re more popular in Europe and New Zealand, where they’re grown and harvested. The berries offer a wealth of nutrients. They’re rich in vitamin C, the omega-6 fatty acid GLA, and disease-fighting anthocyanins.

For the current study, 36 participants between the ages of 18-35 were recruited to examine the effects of black currants on mental health. They were given black currant juice, anthocyanin-enriched black currant extract, or a placebo that matched the taste of black currant juice. All were assigned challenging cognitive tests.

According to the results of the study, the participants taking the black currant juice and extract showed improvements in mood, mental performance, mental fatigue, and attention.1

In addition, the black currant juice was shown to reduce the activity of enzymes that break down dopamine and serotonin.

This may help to explain the mood improvements seen in participants. The scientists involved in the study hope these benefits extend to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s’ disease. Nevertheless, more research needs to be conducted.

Supplement with Anthocyanins

Want to reap the brain benefits of black currants without actually eating them? Supplement with black currant anthocyanins. If you recall, these compounds were present in the black currant extract administered during the study.

Although we’re sure black currants offer a wealth of healthy benefits, they’re not very accessible in the United States — only a handful of states are allowed to grow them. Consequently, it’s unlikely that you’ll find them in your local supermarkets.


  1. Available at: Accessed September 2, 2015.


Unknown said...

It is a progressive neurological condition. My grandmother also has this disease. She is not going to get better. The disease will not kill her but it will mean that symptoms will only worsen over time. People who are suffering from this disease, need to find about parkinson's disease treatment

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