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

Matthew P. Pase, Andrew B. Scholey, Andrew Pipingas, Marni Kras, Karen Nolidin, Amy Gibbs, Keith Wesnes, Con Stough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • cocoa
  • cognition
  • flavonol
  • mood
  • polyphenol

Cite this