Cocoa Flavanols May Boost Memory, but Don’t Start Buying Chocolate

May 29, 2023
Scott A. Small, MD

Scott A. Small, MD

The new research is a subsidiary of a much larger March 2022 study of over 21,000 adults older than age 60 called the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study, or COSMOS. Cocoa supplements and partial grant money was provided by Mars Edge, a segment of Mars Inc.

In the new study, 3,562 adults were divided into two groups — one cohort took a daily placebo, or sugar pill, for three years. The other took a daily 500-milligram pill packed with flavanols extracted from cocoa, including 80 milligrams of epicatechin, a flavonoid long studied for its positive effects on muscle strength and blood flow in the brain.

Over 1,300 of the study participants underwent urine tests at the start of the study to determine levels of flavanols in their system.

At the end of the first year, people in the study who took the daily 500-milligram pill and who had tested in the bottom tier of flavanols “normalized” their levels of flavanols, said study coauthor Dr. Scott Small, professor of neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Columbia University in New York City.

In those people, the flavanols also “restored” their age-related mental decline to levels similar to people who “had high flavanols at baseline,” he said. [read more]

Source: CNN Online

Also covered by: CBS News Baltimore (video), UPIThe GuardianNew York PostThe Times (UK), and Independent (UK).