Cocoa flavanol & Mood-Boosting, Cardiovascular Health

Published: admin | Format: 2017-02-27

Cocoa flavanol act as a powerful mood-enhancer, packed with compounds that increase levels of endorphins and serotonin in our brain; these are the chemicals that cheer us up, reduce anxiety, and give us a general sense of well-being. It also has several beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, such as lowering of blood pressure, improving vascular function and glucose metabolism, and reducing platelet aggregation and adhesion due to its positive effects included activation of nitric oxide synthase, increased bioavailability of nitric oxide, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Powerfully boost the memory, raising memory capacity

Cocoa flavanol improves spatial memory and increases vasculature. The cognitive functions including verbal fluency, visual searching and attention are improved by ingesting high levels of natural compounds found in cocoa called flavanols. Cocoa flavanol boosts the production of dopamine, which is an important brain chemical that helps to control attention spans, increase one’s memory, and increase an individual’s mental focus.

Neurotransmitter that stimulates the pleasure receptors in the brain

The Cocoa flavanol supports increased circulation and the growth of blood vessels, which could explain improvements in cognition, because better blood flow would bring the brain more oxygen and improve its function. Cocoa flavanol produces an enjoyable "feel-good" effect in brain. This positive feeling can help support diet goals along with cardiovascular exercise and reduced calorie intake.

Cocoa flavanol exert a neuroprotective action by reducing ROS production and modulating MAPK activation. Enhanced production of ROS in the initial oxidative stress activates an array of intracellular signaling cascades that are closely associated with both cell death and survival pathways, such as the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK).

Consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa extract  is associated with observable improvements in behavioural outcomes. It has been postulated that vascular effects form the basis of the mechanisms by which flavanol ingestion may lead to benefits for neuronal and cognitive function.


Axial slices showing regions of significantly greater regional perfusion 2 h post-consumption of the high flavanol drink relative to the low flavanol drink using arterial spin labelling. Significantly greater change in blood perfusion occurred following the high flavanol drink compared to the low flavanol drink in two clusters; the ACC and the central opercular cortex of the left parietal lobe down to a sub-cluster in the temporal pole. (Daniel J. Lamport, Deepa Pal, Christina Moutsiana, et al. Psychopharmacology . 2015 , 232:3227–3234)

Cocoa effects on intracellular ROS


Effect of cocoa extract (a) and flavanol (b) on intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and LDH release (c)on SHSY5Y cells after stress oxidative induction.

(Emma Ramiro-Puig, Gemma Casadesu´s, Hyoung-gon Lee et al. Eur J Nutr. 2009, 48:54–61)


Antioxidant powerhouse 

An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen and peroxides, and that include many held to protect the living body from the deleterious effects of free radicals. If your body does not have enough antioxidants to combat the amount of oxidation that occurs, it can become damaged by free radicals. Cocoa flavanols have higher Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) values (ORAC values measure how powerful an antioxidant a substance is.) and it can prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) from destroying cells and causing premature aging. Meanwhile , CocoabuterolTM lead to a higher ratio of high density lipoproteins (HDL) to LDL associated with a lower risk for heart disease and help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants. 


The natural EGCG in cocoa extract is considered as potential anti-inflammatory molecules. It’s likely that there are multiple modes of action of EGCG, an important mechanism involved in modulating endothelial function, a biomarker for cardiovascular risk, is the modulation of nitric oxide which affect expression of inflammatory mediators. 

Increase nitric oxide levels
Antioxidants & anti-inflammatory


mechanism by which increased gut permeability and endotoxin levels lead to insulin resistance. Schematic of cardiovascular system and b physiological parameters reflecting basic components of the cardiovascular system.

cocoa polyphenols can induce apoptotic morphological changes, DNA damage and caspase-3 mediated cell death


Effects of Cocoa supplementation on serum lipids. a; serum triglycerides levels. b; serum total cholesterol levels. c; serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. d; serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. 

cocoa polyphenols has potential effects of ameliorating hyperlipidaemia, insulin resistance, liver steatosis and related inflammation.


Apoptosis detection using annexin-PI dual staining. Data represented as dot plots in (A) OAW42 and (B) OVCAR3. (C) Graphical representation of statistical significance; statistical analysis carried out using 1-way ANOVA followed by Dunnett's post test at significance p < 0.05 for treated cells compared to untreated control.

Karen M. Strata, Thomas J. Rowley IV , Andrew T. Smithson, et al. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2016, 35: 1–21

Chih-Wei Chang, Yi-Ju Hsu, Yi-Ming Chen, et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine2015,15:269-280

Shruti Sanjay Taparia, Aparna Khanna. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2016, 83: 130–140



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