Supplements containing cocoa extract have been shown to improve older adults’ cognitive function.

Supplements containing cocoa extract have been shown to improve older adults’ cognitive function.

According to a recent randomized controlled trial, older adults who eat a poor-quality diet may benefit cognitively from taking daily supplements of cocoa extract. The authors found that older adults who regularly ate a high-quality diet showed no cognitive benefit from cocoa extract. Flavanols, which are abundant in cocoa, may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. There is still need for more investigation into the possible cognitive advantages of cocoa. According to a recent study, older adults with routinely poor diet quality may benefit cognitively from taking daily cocoa extracts. Daily doses of cocoa extract did not appear to improve cognitive function in any of the study participants. The authors of the study note a borderline trend for people with inadequate diets, though. The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a randomized clinical trial (RCT) carried out at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, comprised the clinical cohort of participants in this study. The benefits of taking a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement for cancer prevention and a daily cocoa extract supplement for cognitive function were examined in this larger trial, which involved 21,442 older Americans.

A portion of the research’s funding came from Mars Edge, an entity under Mars Inc. committed to the study of nutrition. Among the other donors were the U. S. The FDA, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Harvard Catalyst, Contract Pharmacal Corp., and the National Institutes of Health. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition publishes the findings. The authors claim that there has been inconsistent research on the impact of cocoa on cognitive health. The small effect observed in this study for individuals with poor diet quality points to a need for more investigation. There were 573 older participants in the study, with a mean age of 69.6. Women made up 49.2 percent of this group. At the start of the study, each participant received a thorough cognitive evaluation, and over the following two years, they underwent follow-up testing. A daily supplement containing 500 mg of cocoa extract, which included 80 mg of the antioxidant epicatechin, was given to certain study participants, while control participants were given a placebo. A total of 492 individuals finished the two-year evaluations. After two years, no improvement in cognition was seen in the group as a whole. Specifically, those taking cocoa supplements showed no improvement in executive function, attention, episodic memory, or global cognition when compared to those receiving a placebo. Flavanols, a subclass of flavonoids that are naturally occurring in plants, fruits, and vegetables, are abundant in cocoa. Our trial results provide insight into the cognitive benefits of cocoa extract, said Dr. Chirag M. Vyas, the study’s first author.

The mechanism through which flavanols may improve cognition in individuals with poor diets is not explained by the study, but Dr. Vyas proposed the following theory: by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, cocoa flavanols may improve cognitive function outcomes in older adults with poor diet quality. Studies have linked systemic levels of inflammation linked to cognitive aging and elevated oxidative stress in older adults with poor diets. Dr. According to Vyas’ theory, eating cocoa flavanols may lessen cognitive stressors and may also be influencing other neuroprotective processes. Over the course of a 12-week follow-up period, a 2021 trial found that cocoa flavonoids had a positive impact on cognitive aging. In addition to other plant compounds, nutritionist Kristin Kirkpatrick, who was not involved in the study, told MNT I advise clients to get plenty of flavonoids. and frequently suggest dark and cocoa chocolate as a fantastic choice with a wide range of culinary applications. Dr. According to Vyas, more investigation is required to clarify the weak link found in the study. Regarding the distinction between cocoa extract and actual cocoa or chocolate, Dr. Vyas replied, There is no simple answer to this question.. Due to compositional differences, the precise effects of chocolate, cocoa powder, and extract on cognitive health may differ, according to him. For instance, a particular compound is isolated to produce cocoa extract.

Even though the COSMOS cocoa extract supplement contains all of the naturally occurring bioactive components of the cocoa bean, we were unable to evaluate the effects of various formulations, separate cocoa extract components, or varying cocoa flavanol concentrations in this trial on cognitive benefits. According to Kirkpatrick, if someone is interested in the flavonoid benefits of cocoa beans, they should consume dark chocolate that is at least 75% cacao or use pure cocoa in their regular meals and snacks, such as topping applesauce or oatmeal with it. would supply that. Customers should search for that 100 percent cocoa, as pure raw cocoa usually contains no added sugar or fat, according to Kirkpatrick. You can use cocoa in a variety of ways, like adding it to yogurt or creating desserts like chocolate mousse. she continued. Dr. Vyas stated that he is not sure if he would advise consuming cocoa to improve cognitive function. According to the results of our trial, using supplements containing cocoa extract did not appear to improve cognitive function overall in older adults, he said. He is hesitant to guarantee a significant benefit just yet, even though the study indicates that older individuals who do not follow a healthy, balanced diet may benefit from consuming cocoa. Notwithstanding these encouraging results, more research is necessary to fully comprehend how cocoa flavanols affect cognition, particularly in more diverse populations and among those with lower-quality diets.


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