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Table 2 The effect of CF supplementation on exercise-induced inflammation

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) Circulating leukocytes
(ii) Neutrophils
(iii) IL-10
(iv) IL-6
(v) IL-1ra
(i–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 IL-6  ↔ 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) TNF-α
(ii) IL-1
(iii) IL-6
(i) ↔ between groups
(ii) ↔ 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 (i) CRP
(ii) IL-6
(i) ↔ between groups
(ii) ↔ between groups
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 CRP  ↔ between groups
  1. CF, cocoa flavanols; EPI, epicatechin; CAT, catechin; CON, control; CHO, carbohydrate; IL, interleukin; CRP, c-reactive protein; TNF-α, Tumour-necrosis factor-; ↔ , no significant effect/change