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      Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

      Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England)

      Affect, drug effects, Beverages, Cacao, chemistry, Cognition, Double-Blind Method, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Polyphenols, administration & dosage, Psychomotor Performance

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          Abstract

          This study aimed to examine the acute and sub-chronic effects of cocoa polyphenols on cognition and mood. In a randomized, double-blind study, healthy middle-aged participants received a dark chocolate drink mix standardized to contain 500 mg, 250 mg or 0 mg of polyphenols (placebo) in a parallel-groups design. Participants consumed their assigned treatment once daily for 30 days. Cognition was measured with the Cognitive Drug Research system and self-rated mood with the Bond-Lader Visual Analogue Scale. Participants were tested at baseline, at 1, 2.5 and 4 h after a single acute dose and again after receiving 30 days of treatment. In total, 72 participants completed the trial. After 30 days, the high dose of treatment significantly increased self-rated calmness and contentedness relative to placebo. Mood was unchanged by treatment acutely while cognition was unaffected by treatment at all time points. This randomized controlled trial is perhaps the first to demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood in healthy participants. This provides a rationale for exploring whether cocoa polyphenols can ameliorate the symptoms associated with clinical anxiety or depression.

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          Most cited references 14

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          The use of analogue scales in rating subjective feelings

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            Free radical-scavenging properties of olive oil polyphenols.

             F Visioli,  C Galli,  G Bellomo (1998)
            Plants in the Mediterranean basin, such as vine and olive trees, have developed an array of antioxidant defences to protect themselves from environmental stress. Accordingly, the incidence of coronary heart disease and certain cancers is lower in the Mediterranean area, where olive oil is the dietary fat of choice. As opposed to other vegetable oils, extra virgin olive oil, which is obtained by physical pressure from a whole fruit, is rich in phenolic components that are responsible for the particular stability of the oil. We have investigated the scavenging actions of some olive oil phenolics, namely hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, with respect to superoxide anion generation, neutrophils respiratory burst, and hypochlorous acid. The low EC50S indicate that both compounds are potent scavengers of superoxide radicals and inhibitors of neutrophils respiratory burst: whenever demonstrated in vivo, these properties may partially explain the observed lower incidence of CHD and cancer associated with the Mediterranean diet.
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              Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort.

              Cocoa flavanols (CF) positively influence physiological processes in ways that suggest their consumption may improve aspects of cognitive function. This study investigated the acute cognitive and subjective effects of CF consumption during sustained mental demand. In this randomized, controlled, double-blinded, balanced, three period crossover trial 30 healthy adults consumed drinks containing 520 mg, 994 mg CF and a matched control, with a three-day washout between drinks. Assessments included the state anxiety inventory and repeated 10-min cycles of a Cognitive Demand Battery comprising of two serial subtraction tasks (Serial Threes and Serial Sevens), a Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVIP) task and a 'mental fatigue' scale, over the course of 1 h. Consumption of both 520 mg and 994 mg CF significantly improved Serial Threes performance. The 994 mg CF beverage significantly speeded RVIP responses but also resulted in more errors during Serial Sevens. Increases in self-reported 'mental fatigue' were significantly attenuated by the consumption of the 520 mg CF beverage only. This is the first report of acute cognitive improvements following CF consumption in healthy adults. While the mechanisms underlying the effects are unknown they may be related to known effects of CF on endothelial function and blood flow.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                23364814
                10.1177/0269881112473791

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