Cocoa extract refers to the bioactive compounds found in cocoa products. These compounds include flavanols, procyanidins and epicatechin. Collectively, these molecules are called Cocoa Extract. Though these molecules are not unique to cocoa. The compound epicatechin, for example, is also found in prunes. Procyanidin B2 is found in Grape Seed Extract and Pycnogenol. Cocoa extract contains a particularly high level of epicatechin, compared to other plant products.
Cocoa extract is a bitter mixture with a chocolate taste, made up of xanthine molecules (theobromine and Caffeine) and procyanidins. Supplementing cocoa extract may provide cardiovascular and cognitive benefits through improved blood flow and antioxidant effects.
Supplementation with dark chocolate or cocoa extract is worth a look. Unlike conventional high-dose single-antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C, E, etc., the antioxidant activity of flavanols such as epicatechin found in dark chocolate seem to do all that antioxidant supplements were originally promised to do, without negatively affecting endogenous ROS-signaling pathways.
Eating dark chocolate (50 – 85% cocoa), baker’s chocolate, and semisweet chocolate provides a low dose of epicatechin and results in the same effects as cocoa extract supplementation. About 25-40 grams of chocolate is equivalent to the standard epicatechin dose. This is about 200 calories of chocolate. The more cocoa chocolate contains, by weight, the less is needed to achieve the same epicatechin dose. White and milk chocolate do not contain enough catechins to provide the health benefits associated with dark chocolate.
Studies show that 5-26g of dark chocolate contains 65-1,095mg of flavanols. The standard dose for cocoa flavanols is 500 – 1,000mg a day, taken with meals. Supplementing cocoa extract can be replaced by dark chocolate consumption. Cocoa extract is a safe supplement that promotes circulation and effective energy production. It has great potential long-term benefits.