Chocolate has anti-depressant qualities: study

Posted by James Ferre on 24th February 2009

Barry Callebaut, a world leading manufacturer of high quality cocoa and chocolate products, has reported the results of a recent study, which reveal the potential mood-elevating effect of cocoa polyphenols.

The independent research, conducted by the French ETAP-Applied Ethology, Centre de Recherche en Pharmacologie, Cancérologie & Pathologies Humaines et Nutrition-Santé’ in Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy and published in the international scientific journal Nutritional Neuroscience indicates that cocoa polyphenols help to reduce the symptoms of depression.

The antidepressant-like effect of cocoa extract was tested at two doses in an internationally recognised, validated ethical and ethological behavioral animal test, which mirrors depressive feelings in humans, Barry Callebaut reported. Already with the lowest dose of cocoa extract given during two weeks, a clear and significant antidepressant-like effect was seen regarding the specific activity during this behavioural test, which was comparable with the effect obtained with a standard reference antidepressant product included in this test, and without any side effects.

According to the study, this antidepressant-like effect can most likely be attributed to the antioxidant potential of cocoa polyphenols. Further studies are required to identify the active components of the cocoa polyphenol extract which demonstrate this antidepressant-like activity.

“As a delicious treat, chocolate is already experienced by consumers as something that keeps the spirits high,” Hans Vriens, Chief Innovation Officer at Barry Callebaut, noted. “It has now been shown that there are also components in cocoa which have a mood-lifting effect.