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Table 1 The effect of CF supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress

From: The effects of cocoa flavanols on indices of muscle recovery and exercise performance: a narrative review

Reference Participants Nutritional intervention Supplementation period Exercise stimulus Measure(s) Key outcome(s)
Allgrove et al. [42] 20 healthy males
Age 22 ± 4 years
Mass 74.6 ± 8 kg
O2max 53.1 ± 7.0 ml·kg−1
Power output 300 ± 30 W
CF: 80 g dark chocolate a day for 14 days, 197.4 mg CF per dose (EPI: 77.4 mg, CAT: 31.2 mg)
CON: 56.8 g iso-CHO-fat control chocolate, 0 mg CF
Each day for 14 days, with a half dose 2 h pre-exercise Cycling at 60% O2max for 1.5 h, intensity raised to 90% every 10 min for 30 s
5 min post cycling there was a time to exhaustion trial at 90% O2max
(i) F2-isoprostanes
(ii) Oxidised LDLs
(iii) Plasma uric acid
(iv) TEAC
(v) Plasma vitamin C
(i) significantly ↓ in CF group
(ii) significantly ↓ across each time point in CF group
(iii) ↑ post-exercise in both treatments
(iv) ↔ between groups
(v) ↔ between groups
Davison et al. [47] 14 healthy males
Age 22 ± 1 years
Mass 71.6 ± 1.6 kg
O2max 53.1 ± 1.9 ml·kg−1 min−1
Power output 300 ± 12 W
CF: 100 g dark chocolate 246.8 mg CF (EPI: 96.8 mg, CAT: 39.1 mg)
CON: isomacronutrient control, 0 mg CF
None: water
Acute dose 2 h pre-exercise Cycling at ~ 60% O2max for 2.5 h (i) F2-isoprostanes
(ii) Plasma Vitamin C
(iii) TEAC
(i) ↓ CF group vs CON
(ii) ↔ between groups
(iii) ↑ pre-exercise CF vs CON
de Carvalho et al. [49] 13 trained males
Age 21 ± 2 years
Stature 180 ± 0.05 cm
Mass 87.02 ± 8.03 kg
CF: CHO + protein cocoa beverage, 306 mg CF per beverage
CON: cocoa based CHO + protein beverage, 0 mg CF
7 days, beverage consumed twice daily Five sets of 20 drop jumps from 0.6 m, 10 s between jumps and 2 min interset rest Urinary F2-isoprostanes  ↔ between groups
Decroix et al. [43] 12 well-trained males
Age 30 ± 3 years
Stature 177.9 ± 8.8 cm
Mass 72.8 ± 7.8 kg
O2max 63.0 ± 3.5 ml·kg−1 min−1
CF: cocoa drink, 900 mg CF (EPI: 185 mg, CAT: 20 mg)
CON: placebo, 15 mg CF (EPI: 0 mg, CAT: 0 mg)
Acute dose 1.5 pre-exercise Two 30 min time trials 60 min apart, performed at a ~ 75% peak power output (i) Uric acid
(ii) MDA
(iii) TEAC
(i) ↑ in CF vs CON
(ii) ↔ between group
(iii) ↑ in CF vs CON
Decroix et al. [45] 14 well-trained males
Age 31 ± 3 years
Stature 180 ± 5 cm
Mass 73 ± 7 kg
O2max 62.9 ± 5.8 ml·kg−1 min−1
Peak Power Output 366 ± 45 W
CF: Capsule, 530 mg CF (EPI: 100 mg, CAT: 21 mg)
CON: 1,764 mg maltodextrin
Consumed daily for six days and then a seventh on the day of testing 20 min steady state cycling at 45% peak power output
20 min time trial beginning at 75% peak power output
Completed in normoxic and hypoxic environments
(i) TEAC
(ii) Uric acid
(iii) MDA
(i) ↔ 
(ii) ↔ 
(iii) CF blunted ↑ in both N and H
Fraga et al. [41] 28 trained males
Age 18 ± 1 years
Mass 74 ± 1 kg
CF: 105 g chocolate confectionery, 168 mg CF (EPI + CAT: 39 mg)
CON: 105 g cocoa butter chocolate, < 5 mg CF
Sub-chronic, 14 day consumption Soccer training sessions twice per week and one match per week (i) MDA
(ii) Urate
(iii) Oxo8dG
(iv) TRAP
(v) α-tocopherol
(vi) lycopene
vii) β-carotene
(viii) coenzyme Q-10
(i) Post CF ↓ by 12%
CON ↑ by 10%
(ii) ↓ by 11% in CF
(iii-viii) ↔ between groups
Morgan et al. [48] 10 active males
Age 23 ± 3 years
Stature 184 ± 59 cm
Mass 85.3 ± 12.0 kg
Single leg 1RM 90.4 ± 19.0 kg
CF: 330 ml cacao juice, 74 mg CF (EPI: 8 mg, CAT: 43 mg)
CON: 330 ml CHO and flavour matched placebo, 0 mg CF
10 days supplementation (7 days pre-exercise, 3 days post) 10 sets of 10 single leg knee extensions at ~ 80% 1RM Protein carbonylation Protein carbonylation not elevated following exercise protocol
Taub et al. [50] 17 sedentary (9 males 8 females) participants
CF:
Age 50 ± 3
Stature 168 ± 3
Mass 78.8 ± 5.6
O2max 22.9 ± 1.9 ml·kg−1 min−1
CON:
Age 50 ± 2
Stature 175 ± 5
Mass 92.2 ± 9.7
O2max 24 ± 1.7 ml·kg−1 min−1
CF: 20 g dark chocolate, 175.2 mg CF (EPI: 26 mg, CAT: 4.6)
CON: 20 g placebo chocolate
Chronic (3 months daily intake) Cycling exercise including O2max (i) GSH:GSSG ratio
(ii) Protein carbonylation
(i) significant ↑ in CF group vs CON
(ii) significant ↓ in CF group vs CON
Wiswedel et al. [44] 20 untrained males
Age ~ 20–25
CF: cocoa drink, 185 mg CF
CON: cocoa drink 14 mg CF
Acute, 2 h pre cycling exercise Cycling at 75 W increasing to 150 W for 10 min (i) F2-isoprostanes
(ii) MDA
(iii) α-tocopherol
(iv) ascorbate
(v) TAC
(i) CON small ↑ 2 and 4 h post-consumption, CF did not
Significant difference CF vs CON 2 and 4 h post-intake following exercise
(ii–v) ↔ between groups
  1. CF, cocoa flavanols; EPI, epicatechin; CAT, catechin; CON, control;CHO, carbohydrate; TEAC, Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity; MDA, malonaldehyde; LDL, low density lipoprotein; Oxo8dG, 8-Oxo-2’-deoxyguanosine; 1RM, one rep max; GSH:GSSG, reduced glutathione: oxidised glutathione ratio; TAC, total antioxidant capacity; TRAP, total relative antioxidant potency; ↑, increase; ↓, decrease; ↔ , no significant effect/change