Good news for chocoholics, studies have found that eating dark chocolate can protect brain from age related stress and inflammation, which is considered as a cause for neuro degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Oxidative stress and inflammation increases with ageing and are thought to play an important role in the development of neuro degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer ‘s disease.
A study by researchers from the University of California San Diego in the US showed that the epicatechin (Epi), a flavanol found in foods such as dark chocolate, reduced damaging oxidative stress and neuro inflammation in a mouse model of ageing.
After just two weeks of treatment with epicatechin not only suppressed levels of oxidative stress and neuro inflammation that would normally be increased in this mouse model, but also improved memory and anxiety levels in the mice.
“In the current study, using a similar mouse model of ageing, we examined the capacity of Epi to mitigate hippocampus oxidative stress and inflammation leading to improved memory and anxiety levels,” they said.
Male mice underwent two weeks of treatment and samples of their brains were collected for the assessment of relevant endpoints.
The assessment of the OS markers protein carbonyls and malondialdehyde levels show significant increases with ageing that are suppressed by Epi.
Altogether, results evidence a unique capacity of Epi to significantly mitigate neuroinflammation leading to improved brain function.
The findings may help explain the beneficial effects on memory seen in people who consume dark chocolate, researchers said.
The research was published in the journal Experimental Biology