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Review

Effect of Cocoa Products and Its Polyphenolic Constituents on Exercise Performance and Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Inflammation: A Review of Clinical Trials

1
National Research Council—Institute of Clinical Physiology, Laboratory of Nutrigenomic and Vascular Biology, Lecce 73100, Italy
2
FAME Laboratory, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Trikala 42100, Greece
3
Department for Quality of Life Studies, University of Bologna, Bologna 40126, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1471; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071471
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 25 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cocoa, Chocolate and Human Health)
In recent years, the consumption of chocolate and, in particular, dark chocolate has been “rehabilitated” due to its high content of cocoa antioxidant polyphenols. Although it is recognized that regular exercise improves energy metabolism and muscle performance, excessive or unaccustomed exercise may induce cell damage and impair muscle function by triggering oxidative stress and tissue inflammation. The aim of this review was to revise the available data from literature on the effects of cocoa polyphenols on exercise-associated tissue damage and impairment of exercise performance. To this aim, PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched with the following keywords: “intervention studies”, “cocoa polyphenols”, “exercise training”, “inflammation”, “oxidative stress”, and “exercise performance”. We selected thirteen randomized clinical trials on cocoa ingestion that involved a total of 200 well-trained athletes. The retrieved data indicate that acute, sub-chronic, and chronic cocoa polyphenol intake may reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress but not inflammation, while mixed results are observed in terms of exercise performance and recovery. The interpretation of available results on the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities of cocoa polyphenols remains questionable, likely due to the variety of physiological networks involved. Further experimental studies are mandatory to clarify the role of cocoa polyphenol supplementation in exercise-mediated inflammation. View Full-Text
Keywords: athlete; cocoa; chocolate; exercise performance; oxidative stress; performance; physical exercise; polyphenol; skeletal muscle; inflammation athlete; cocoa; chocolate; exercise performance; oxidative stress; performance; physical exercise; polyphenol; skeletal muscle; inflammation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Massaro, M.; Scoditti, E.; Carluccio, M.A.; Kaltsatou, A.; Cicchella, A. Effect of Cocoa Products and Its Polyphenolic Constituents on Exercise Performance and Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Inflammation: A Review of Clinical Trials. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1471. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071471

AMA Style

Massaro M, Scoditti E, Carluccio MA, Kaltsatou A, Cicchella A. Effect of Cocoa Products and Its Polyphenolic Constituents on Exercise Performance and Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Inflammation: A Review of Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2019; 11(7):1471. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071471

Chicago/Turabian Style

Massaro, Marika, Egeria Scoditti, Maria A. Carluccio, Antonia Kaltsatou, and Antonio Cicchella. 2019. "Effect of Cocoa Products and Its Polyphenolic Constituents on Exercise Performance and Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Inflammation: A Review of Clinical Trials" Nutrients 11, no. 7: 1471. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071471

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