Amount Needed for Desired Benefit
A review of positive, well controlled clinical trials helps inform what portion or dose is necessary to achieve desired health benefits. Cocoa flavanol levels shown effective in controlled trials of brain, heart and skin health vary but mostly range between 500mg and 1,000mg per day.
Chart 2 highlights daily flavanol intake and study length for some of the most rigorous and successful clinical trials assessing cocoa flavanol benefits of brain, heart, and skin health.
Consumption or “dosing” frequency in successful clinical trials also varies although most studies require participants to consume the target level of cocoa flavanols either once a day (single portion) or twice a day (divided into two equal portions).
References for Effective Doses
1) Field et al. Consumption of Cocoa Flavanols Results in an Acute Improvement in Visual & Cognitive Function. Physiol Behav 2011
2) Scholey et al. Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort. J Psychopharm 2010
3) Heiss et al. Impact of cocoa flavanol intake on age-dependent vascular stiffness in healthy men. AGE. June 2015
4) Williams et al. Eating Chocolate Can Significantly Protect the Skin from UV Light. J Cosmetic Dermatology Sept 2009
5) Sansone et al. Cocoa flavanol intake improves endothelial function and Framingham Risk Score in healthy men and women. British Journal of Nutrition. June, 2015
6) Pase et al. Cocoa Polyphenols Enhance Positive Mood States but not Cognitive Performance. J Psychopharm 2012
7) Mastroiacovo et al. Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects. AJCN Jan. 2015
8) Small et al. Enhancing Dentate Gyrus Function with Dietary Flavanols Improves Cognition in Older Adults. Nature Neuroscience Oct. 2014