Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high quality cocoa and chocolate products, has announced the results of a recent study revealing the mood-elevating effect of cocoa polyphenols. The independent research, conducted by the French ETAP-Applied Ethology, Centre de Recherche en Pharmacologie, Cancérologie & Pathologies Humaines et Nutrition-Santé in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy and published in the international scientific journal Nutritional Neuroscience, indicates that cocoa polyphenols help to reduce the symptoms of depression. ACTICOA™ chocolate is one of the richest natural sources of cocoa polyphenols, more specifically flavanols. Flavanols have, among other health benefits, a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
The antidepressant-like effect of cocoa extract was tested at two doses in an internationally recognised, validated ethical and ethological behavioural animal test that mirrors depressive feelings in humans. Even with the lowest dose of cocoa extract given during two weeks, a clear and significant antidepressant-like effect was seen regarding the specific activity during this behavioural test, which was comparable with the effect obtained with a standard reference antidepressant product included in this test, and without any side effects.
Cocoa extract, as a natural source of several possible mood-lifting components, seems to be a promising alternative for existing antidepressant agents. This positive behaviour seems to be mediated by the reversal of brain oxidative damage, which is often associated with depression in humans.
According to the study, this antidepressant-like effect can most likely be attributed to the antioxidant potential of cocoa polyphenols. Further studies are required to identify the active components of the cocoa polyphenol extract which demonstrate this antidepressant-like activity.
Hans Vriens, chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut, said, “As a delicious treat, chocolate is already experienced by consumers as something that keeps the spirits high. It has now been shown that there are also components in cocoa which have a mood-lifting effect.”
Barry Callebaut’s ACTICOA process offers the very best in natural protection, straight from the cocoa bean. Thanks to its high concentration of cocoa flavanols, ACTICOA cocoa and chocolate help restore the balance between antioxidants and free radicals in our body. Recent studies demonstrate that ACTICOA also helps to maintain heart health, concentration and memory and even promotes healthy skin. Products containing ACTICOA chocolate or cocoa can be recognised by the ACTICOA quality seal. At present, around 30 products containing ACTICOA cocoa or chocolate are sold in more than 10 countries around the world. In the following year, the number of ACTICOA products on the market is expected to at least double.