Navigation Links
Could Chocolate's Antioxidants Boost Brain Function?
Date:8/13/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A cocoa drink rich in flavanols -- the same antioxidants found in chocolate -- may help people with mild memory problems improve their brain function, according to Italian researchers.

Flavanols are found in tea, grapes, red wine, apples and especially in cocoa plants and are associated with a decreased risk of dementia, the researchers said.

"The prevention of dementia has to be started early in the life through a healthy lifestyle including adequate cardiovascular risk-factor control, regular physical activity, weight control and a calorie-controlled and nutritionally balanced diet," said lead researcher Dr. Giovambattista Desideri, director of the geriatric division in the department of life, health and environmental sciences at the University of L'Aquila.

"In this context, regular cocoa flavanol consumption seems to represent an effective strategy in preserving brain and cardiovascular health and function," he said.

Flavanols' ability to help maintain brain function may arise from their ability to protect brain cells, improve brain metabolism and blood flow, which helps preserve memory, the researchers said.

The report was published online Aug. 13 in Hypertension.

For the study, funded by the candy maker, Mars Inc., the researchers assigned 90 elderly patients with mild memory impairment to consume a drink containing either 990 milligrams (mg), 520 mg or 45 mg of cocoa flavanols each day for eight weeks.

The researchers assessed participants' brain function with a variety of tests.

People consuming the high and intermediate amounts of flavanol showed significant improvement on some of the tests, the study found. They scored better on measures including hand-eye coordination, working and verbal memory, and verbal fluency than those in the low-flavanol group.

About 40 percent of the improved mental scores were the result of lowered insulin resistance seen in the higher-flavanol groups, the study said. These participants also had reduced blood sugar and blood pressure, and lower levels of a marker for oxidative damage to the cells.

These data are in agreement with a consistent body of data from literature that consumption of flavonoid-rich foods -- including dark chocolate -- is associated with a reduction of insulin resistance, according to study background information. "In other words, cocoa flavanols are able to improve control of blood sugar," Desideri said.

"Given the global rise in cognitive [brain] disorders due to progressive 'graying' of population in Western countries, our findings provide encouraging evidence that consuming cocoa flavanols could represent a useful intervention for preserving mental health," he said.

It is important to note this study was not done with chocolate, but with lower-calorie, nutritionally balanced drinks rich in cocoa flavanols, Desideri said.

"Based on the current explosion of obesity, which is particularly evident in children, we should be careful when recommending chocolate ingestion to our patients," he said. "In real life, the progressive increment of body weight due to an unbalanced diet is likely to counterbalance the positive effects of cocoa on vascular function."

Dr. Sam Gandy, associate director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said that "the study is interesting but requires replication before it can be taken seriously."

"The lifestyle intervention with the strongest science behind it is physical exercise," he said. "I would recommend physical exercise before I would recommend chocolate."

While the study found an association between cocoa flavanols and mental function scores, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

For more about dementia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Giovambattista Desideri, M.D., director, geriatric division, department of life, health and environmental sciences, University of L'Aquila, Italy; Sam Gandy, M.D., Ph.D., Mount Sinai chair in Alzheimer's Disease Research, and professor of neurology and psychiatry, and director, Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health, and associate director, Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Aug. 13, 2012, Hypertension, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Red wine, fruit compound could help block fat cell formation
2. Pulse pressure elevation could presage cerebrovascular disease in Alzheimers patients
3. Report says new evidence could tip the balance in aspirin cancer prevention care
4. Climate Change Could Be Tough on Seniors Health: Study
5. Could Menthol Cigarettes Pose Even Higher Stroke Risk?
6. Online Tool Could Diagnose Autism Quickly, Developers Say
7. Codeine After Surgery Could Endanger Certain Kids: Study
8. BMC study shows diverting passengers to elevators could help reduce falls at Logan Airport
9. Discovery could help to develop drugs for organ transplant and cancer patients
10. Feelings of immaturity accompany alcohol misuse into adulthood; discovery could improve treatments
11. Saliva test could dramatically increase detection of oral cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to ... a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from ... common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. ... and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ... raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at ... the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, ... economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered ... already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital investment for five ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... DUBLIN , June 24, 2016 ... and Markets has announced the addition of the ... their offering. ... products and provides an updated review, including its applications ... covering the total market, which includes three main industries: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  American Respiratory Labs (ARL), a ... now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments in patients, homes, thanks ... Inc. Patients are no longer limited to having ... PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne R. of ... the comfort of her own home. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: