The list of athletic benefits of this remarkable nutrient continues to stack up...
I'm talking about cyanidin-3-glucoside, often referred to simply as "C3G." A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated the effects of C3G on exercise endurance in mice subjected to a weighted swimming task over 15 consecutive days.
The results were stunning.
Before we take a closer look at these findings, though, let's uncover a little more about C3G, and why I believe it's one of the most under-appreciated super-nutrients available today...
The Existing Science on C3G
C3G is a polyphenol -- a naturally occurring micronutrient found in fruits and vegetables with potent antioxidant properties. Polyphenols are considered nutraceuticals because of their positive effects on human health and athletic performance.
C3G is primarily found in blueberries, blackberries, grapes, black beans, and virtually all other fruits and vegetables exhibiting a reddish blue or indigo coloring.
It is well studied, and the research shows it to confer potent anti-diabetic benefits by improving insulin sensitivity. Being more insulin sensitive is a distinguishing feature of your metabolism during youth, and a main reason why it probably seemed like you could eat anything you wanted when you were a teenager without negatively affecting your body composition (ratio of muscle to fat), but find it harder and harder to stay lean as you age and your insulin sensitivity declines.
It is for this reason that C3G also has well known anti-obesity effects, and improves exercise capacity by stimulating the oxidation of fatty acids.
The Latest Science on C3G
Now, thanks to the latest study by Japanese researches, we have a greater understanding of how C3G appears to significantly improve exercise performance ... in this case, endurance exercise performance.
In this study, 15 mice were split into test and control groups. Test mice were given C3G for 15 consecutive days, while the control mice were not. Both groups were forced to swim with a load equal to 10% of their body weight.
Here's what they found:
- Test (C3G) mice were able to swim nearly 100% longer than the control mice (almost 400 seconds versus just over 200 seconds)
- Lactate levels (a measure of fatigue) were markedly lower in the C3G group
- C3G group had increased lean body mass compared to the control mice
- C3G mice had lower levels of fatty acids in their blood
- C3G mice had significantly more mitochondria in their cells, leading to increased ATP and energy production
How C3G Works
The authors painstakingly studied the biochemical pathways by which C3G worked in the test mice. I won't bore you with all the details, but you should know the high-level science behind these findings.
The short of it is, C3G increases the body's production of adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK), which in this study, increased 2.88 times. This caused an upregulation of "peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha, or simply PGC-1 alpha for short, in skeletal muscle.
The PGC-1 alpha over-expression in muscle tissue increases exercise capacity, resistance to fatigue and oxygen uptake!
All things critically important to endurance athletes...
How To Translate This To Human Performance
Obviously, these findings would have been more dramatic if the researchers had used human subjects instead of mice.
Nevertheless, the dramatic improvement in endurance exercise performance shouldn't be disregarded, as it squares very tightly with what we already know about the effects of C3G in humans, including the pathways involved, and is also consistent with empirical evidence.
So, the next questions are: where can you find C3G, and how much should you take to receive the endurance-enhancing benefits?
C3G is available in supplemental form, and there is a burgeoning market for it. You will need to be discerning, however, in your selection of a C3G supplement, given that most represent complexes within which C3G is just a component. As with all nutritional supplements, potency is a key determinant of efficacy, so choose wisely.
As for how much to take, remarkably, the dosage used in the aforementioned study was relatively low, meaning that you won't have to break the bank to derive the endurance performance gains.
In the study, researchers used one milligram per kilogram of body weight.
Therefore, the human equivalent for a 150-lb male would be 68 milligrams, a relatively low supplemental dose.
(Could you theoretically consume your C3G from fruits and vegetables instead?... Sure, but even a "low" supplement dose of 68 mg would be the equivalent of about 4 cups of blueberries.)
Consider adding C3G to your supplement arsenal for several weeks, and send us your feedback in the comments below.
If we receive enough positive testimonials, we'll ensure our product development team at Emergent considers adding C3G to a future offering.