New study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that chocolate can help preventing neurogenerative disorders
Around 35.6 million people were suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in 2010, and this figure is expected to have doubled by 2030. Unfortunately, current treatments for this illness can only ease cognitive impairment and decline and do not succeed to slow the progression of the disease.
Cocoa contains polyphenols. These micro-nutrients could reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and have antioxidant effects on cells (especially substances called “flavanols”).
Previous studies suggested that daily eating 100 g of chocolate could significantly reduce the risk of stroke. Studies have also linked cocoa consumption to brain aging and overall brain health.
Author of the new research and neurology professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, works to study how specific cocoa strains could have a preventive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. Cocoa polyphenols seems to reduce beta-amyloid brain accumulation in Alheimer’s patients.
“Therefore, emerging biomedical research experimental evidence, and new clinical translational studies all support the major interest in the development of cocoa as a botanical source for the maintenance and promotion of health, in particular, in the brain,” the researchers declared.
The main study focus was on the polyphenols’ capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach areas of the brain that are affected in dementia. Polyphenols could help prevent loss of synapses between neurons. “For example, we found that one of the polyphenol metabolites, quercetin-3-O-glucoside, is capable of crossing the BBB [blood-brain barrier], accumulating in the brain, and modulating [beta-amyloid] neuropathogenic mechanisms”, authors stated.
In the future, more research is needed to fully understand the ways in which cocoa extracts could affect cognition, as more and more cocoa strains are being produced in the world.
“Successful translational studies of cocoa extracts in clinical settings will require coordinated research efforts bridging together development of new sources of cocoa extract, improved standardized methodologies for quantitative detection of polyphenols from cocoa preparations, and investigations on the effect of cocoa processing and the biological availability and biological activities of cocoa polyphenols”, scientists conclude.