New York — A polyphenol-rich cocoa extract, Lavado, has shown efficacy in reducing damage to nerve pathways in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The results suggest the potential for using Lavado as a supplement to inhibit, or even prevent, the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the earliest, asymptomatic stages; however, more research is called for.
Using mice genetically engineered to replicate Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai tested the effects of extracts of Dutched, Natural and Lavado cocoa, which contain different levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that have demonstrated protective capabilities against degenerative diseases of the brain.
In Alzheimer’s disease, groups of protein molecules known as Aß-oligomers, bind together and prevent transmission of electrochemical signals between cells, interfering with memory circuit activity. Moreover, Aß-oligomers set off immune inflammatory responses that result in cell destruction.
According to the study, mice that were administered Lavado — which contains the highest level of polyphenols of the three extracts — evidenced reduced formation of Aß-oligomers and reversed damage to neural connections. Dutched cocoa extract showed no similar beneficial effect, because the alkalinizing process that removed acidity from cocoa reduces polyphenol content.
Similar studies reinforce the association between cocoa consumption and prevention of memory loss in older adults.