Cerebral blood flow response to flavanol-rich cocoa in healthy elderly humans

Farzaneh A. Sorond*, Lewis A. Lipsitz, Norman K. Hollenberg, N. D L Fisher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Cerebral ischemia is a common, morbid condition accompanied by cognitive decline. Recent reports on the vascular health benefits of flavanol-containing foods signify a promising approach to the treatment of cerebral ischemia. Our study was designed to investigate the effects of flavanol-rich cocoa (FRC) consumption on cerebral blood flow in older healthy volunteers. Methods: We used transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound to measure mean blood flow velocity (MFV) in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in thirty-four healthy elderly volunteers (72 ± 6 years) in response to the regular intake of FRC or flavanol-poor cocoa (FPC). Results: In response to two weeks of FRC intake, MFV increased by 8% ± 4% at one week (p = 0.01) and 10% ± 4% (p = 0.04) at two weeks. In response to one week of cocoa, significantly more subjects in the FRC as compared with the FPC group had an increase in their MFV (p < 0.05). Conclusions: In summary, we show that dietary intake of FRC is associated with a significant increase in cerebral blood flow velocity in the MCA as measured by TCD. Our data suggest a promising role for regular cocoa flavanol's consumption in the treatment of cerebrovascular ischemic syndromes, including dementias and stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-440
Number of pages8
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Cocoa
  • Flavanol
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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