Chocolate and the brain: Neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior

  title={Chocolate and the brain: Neurobiological impact of cocoa flavanols on cognition and behavior},
  author={Alexander N. Sokolov and Marina A Pavlova and Sibylle Klosterhalfen and Paul Enck},
  journal={Neuroscience \& Biobehavioral Reviews},

Figures and Tables from this paper

Impact of Coffee and Cacao Purine Metabolites on Neuroplasticity and Neurodegenerative Disease
Caffeine has been the most widely studied and has clear effects on neuronal network activity, promotes sustained cognitive performance and can protect neurons against dysfunction and death in animal models of stroke, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids
Human studies specifically aimed at investigating the effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive domains, such as executive functions, attention and memory converge at pointing to cocoa as a new interesting nutraceutical tool to protect human cognition and counteract different types of cognitive decline.
Mood Components in Cocoa and Chocolate: The Mood Pyramid.
It is concluded that the mood and cognition-enhancing effects of cocoa and chocolate can be ranked from more general activities associated with flavanols and methylxanthines, to more specific activities related to minor constituents such as salsolinol, with on top the orosensory properties of chocolate.
Nutritional Management of Mental Disorders: Potential Role of Dietary Flavonoids and Vitamin E
The evidence for the potential role of flavonoids and vitamin E in modulating cognitive function and psychiatric health is broadly reviewed and the potential underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms for their effects in brain function and improved mental health are examined.
Effect of Cocoa and Cocoa Products on Cognitive Performance in Young Adults
This systematic review further supports the beneficial effect of cocoa flavanols on cognitive function and neuroplasticity and indicates that such benefits are possible in early adulthood.
Tea, cocoa, coffee, and affective disorders: vicious or virtuous cycle?
Sustained consumption of cocoa-based dark chocolate enhances seizure-like events in the mouse hippocampus.
Ex vivo electrophysiological analysis revealed a significant enhancement in seizure-like population spike bursting at the neurogenic dentate gyrus, which was paralleled by a significant reduction in the levels of GABA-α1 receptors thus suggesting that an excessive dietary intake of cocoa-enriched food might alter some of the synaptic elements involved in epileptogenesis.
The Effects of Flavonoids on Cardiovascular Health: A Review of Human Intervention Trials and Implications for Cerebrovascular Function
Evidence presented includes their potential to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, as well as increasing peripheral blood perfusion and promoting CBF in both healthy and at-risk populations.


The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance.
  • A. Nehlig
  • Biology
    British journal of clinical pharmacology
  • 2013
The present review intends to review the data available on the effects of cocoa and chocolate on brain health and cognitive abilities.
The Effect of Flavanol-rich Cocoa on the fMRI Response to a Cognitive Task in Healthy Young People
The data presented show an increase in the BOLD signal intensity in response to a cognitive task following ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa, suggesting the potential of cocoa flavanols for treatment of vascular impairment, including dementia and strokes, and thus for maintaining cardiovascular health.
Cocoa Flavanols and Brain Perfusion
Preliminary data hold out the promise that the cerebral blood supply in the elderly participates in the vasodilator response, and the prospect of increasing cerebral perfusion with cocoa flavanols is extremely promising.
Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease.
Overall, research to date suggests that the benefits of moderate cocoa or dark chocolate consumption likely outweigh the risks, including increased risk of weight gain.
The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects
The intense interest in the development of drugs capable of enhancing brain function means that flavonoids may represent important precursor molecules in the quest to develop of a new generation of brain enhancing drugs.
Plant-Derived Flavanol (−)Epicatechin Enhances Angiogenesis and Retention of Spatial Memory in Mice
Data show that ingestion of a single flavanol improves spatial memory retention in adult mammals, and is associated with increased angiogenesis and neuronal spine density, but not newborn cell survival, in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.
(-)-Epicatechin mediates beneficial effects of flavanol-rich cocoa on vascular function in humans.
  • H. Schroeter, C. Heiss, M. Kelm
  • Biology, Medicine
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2006
The data demonstrate that the human ingestion of the flavanol (-)-epicatechin is, at least in part, causally linked to the reported vascular effects observed after the consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa.
Effects of long-term administration of a cocoa polyphenolic extract (Acticoa powder) on cognitive performances in aged rats
Acticoa powder may be beneficial in retarding age-related brain impairments, including cognitive deficits in normal ageing and perhaps neurodegenerative diseases, and further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms of cocoa polyphenols in neuroprotection and to explore their effects in man.