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Studies show cocoa-flavanol-rich supplements improving memory. Anyone have any experience, pro or con, trying this? Any suggestions?
onward
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 11:03 AM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217



Has anyone here tried, or does anyone here have any suggestions about trying cocoa-flavanol-rich supplements to aid memory?


The first study cited below was on people without dementia and the results were impressive, but the pubmed abstract (quoted farther down) involved people with mild cognitive impairment who had some positive results as well.


Here are highlights:

_____________________________________________________________

OCTOBER 29, 2014

Chocolate compound restores age-related memory loss


- "... a concentrated daily dose of epicatechin, a compound derived from the cocoa bean, made a typical 60-year-old's memory perform more like that of a 30- or 40-year-old..."

- "... A test drink that concentrated about 900 milligrams of flavanols was produced by the Mars company..."

- "... After three months, the group that got the supercharged flavanol drink showed greatly improved performance on the test of memory, while the low-flavanol group showed no such improvement..."

- "... The researchers emphasized that consuming chocolate in an effort to take in epicatechins would not be recommended: the processing of cocoa beans in the confectionery process typically strips most chocolate candy of those phytonutrients. And getting 900 milligrams of epicatechin from any flavanol-rich food would be impractical..."

- "... Epicatechin is a flavanol found plentifully in tea, wine and some fruits and vegetables, as well as in cocoa beans. The flavanols in cocoa beans are routinely destroyed by the high heat used in processing cocoa beans to make chocolate. But Mars Botanical, a research and development company owned by Mars Inc., has developed a process by which the cocoa bean's flavanols are captured and retained..."


http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-chocolate-memory-loss-20141028-story.html


_____________________________________________________________


10/27/2014

Compound In Cocoa May Reverse Age-Related Memory Loss


... Mars already markets a flavanol-rich supplement called CocoaVia....

... assuming future studies back this one up and determine the best dosing, the next few years might bring some interesting, high-potency cocoa products to market...

http://onforb.es/1Dk03r7


_____________________________________________________________


[My comment}

I did a little research. The Mars product called CocoaVia (mentioned in the Forbes article and available at amazon etc.) comes in packets or capsules.

Note: I have no experience with this product and am not trying to promote it.


The recommended daily dose of 3 capsules contains:

1350 mg Cocoa Extract
375 mg Cocoa Flavanols

It's also available in packets with "375 mg of cocoa flavanols per packet."


But the Mars drink used in the study contained "900 milligrams of flavanols." So far I don't see that particular product for sale, though it may be.


The caffeine content could be a concern in some people.

Also cadmium content is said to be a problem in some products, though I've read that CocoaVia has lower cadmium compared to similar products. (Haven't been able to document this though.)


One reviewer at amazon wrote:

"Some memory clinical trials (info on www.pubmed.gov) have shown benefits only when taking at least 500mg, up to 990mg of flavanol, so 3 pills with 375mg flavanol will not be enough.

"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22892813

"It would be good if Mars could come out with a double strength capsule that passed consumerlab.com tests as that would be easy for elderly patients to take and could come close to therapeutic doses in some clinical trials."

_____________________________________________________


Here's the study mentioned by the amazon reviewer:


2012 Sep;60(3):794-801. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.193060. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study.

Abstract

Flavanol consumption is favorably associated with cognitive function. We tested the hypothesis that dietary flavanols might improve cognitive function in subjects with mild cognitive impairment. We conducted a double-blind, parallel arm study in 90 elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment randomized to consume once daily for 8 weeks a drink containing ≈990 mg (high flavanols), ≈520 mg (intermediate flavanols), or ≈45 mg (low flavanols) of cocoa flavanols per day. Cognitive function was assessed by Mini Mental State Examination, Trail Making Test A and B, and verbal fluency test. At the end of the follow-up period, Mini Mental State Examination was similar in the 3 treatment groups (P=0.13). The time required to complete Trail Making Test A and Trail Making Test B was significantly (P<0.05) lower in subjects assigned to high flavanols (38.10±10.94 and 104.10±28.73 seconds, respectively) and intermediate flavanols (40.20±11.35 and 115.97±28.35 seconds, respectively) in comparison with those assigned to low flavanols (52.60±17.97 and 139.23±43.02 seconds, respectively). Similarly, verbal fluency test score was significantly (P<0.05) better in subjects assigned to high flavanols in comparison with those assigned to low flavanols (27.50±6.75 versus 22.30±8.09 words per 60 seconds). Insulin resistance, blood pressure, and lipid peroxidation also decreased among subjects in the high-flavanol and intermediate-flavanol groups. Changes of insulin resistance explained ≈40% of composite z score variability through the study period (partial r(2)=0.4013; P<0.0001). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first dietary intervention study demonstrating that the regular consumption of cocoa flavanols might be effective in improving cognitive function in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment. This effect appears mediated in part by an improvement in insulin sensitivity.

PMID: 22892813 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free full text

______________________________________________________


Please can anyone give input on possible things worth trying? Or can anyone share any experiences, pro or con, with trying any cocoa-flavanol-rich supplement for a person with dementia? Thanks.


jackalar
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 1:18 PM
Joined: 11/25/2013
Posts: 29


Onward,

I cannot say for sure that it helps, but I give my husband 1-2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder per day. He takes it as part of a DIY concoction which I give him 2-3 times/day.

Part of my reasoning for including this is Lane's mention of cocoa as a flavonoid that inhibits the formation of peroxynitrites. The Bredesen protocol calls for optimizing antioxidants, although not specifically cocoa.

My husband takes many supplements. So when whole food is an option, that is my preference. Also, I'm a bit leery of a Mars supplement. As I understand it, regular cocoa from the grocery store is not as high in flavonoid content as raw cacao. I don't know the flavonoid content, but my notes say 1.5 -2 tbsp/day as a suggested dose.

Just for a touch of humor... when I first started making this concoction for my husband, I asked him to think of a name for a "memory-enhancing formula." Always good with words, he immediately called it "Einster." Ha!

Jackie
onward
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 1:53 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217


Thanks for the helpful reply, Jackie.

("Einster." Good one!)


scma_2007
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 4:08 PM
Joined: 9/13/2013
Posts: 112



Jackie,

Can you please tell us the brand of your raw cacao powder?

I searched Amazon, and in May 2014, there is a popular raw cacao powder found to have a high cadmium content by Consumer Lab. Mars’ CocoVia, on the other hand, tested for being cadmium clean, has carrageenan. Both substances can be carcinogenic on certain amount.

Also, did you notice any distinct improvement on your husband after taking this for a while?

Incidentally, cacao and chocolate have the antioxidant resveratrol too. So that’s two in one benefit.



onward
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 5:26 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217


scma (and anyone else),

Do you know of any cocoa-flavanol-rich products that are free of, or low in, both cadmium and carrageenan?


Jackie,

I too am very interested to hear how your husband is faring overall on the Bredesen/DIY protocol.

Can you pinpoint any specific supplement(s) that you're giving him that you think's especially helping?

Thanks.


jackalar
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 10:35 PM
Joined: 11/25/2013
Posts: 29


The cacao powder we use is raw, organic (non-fermented) from Wilderness Family Naturals. There is a link on their site that shows heavy metal test results, but darn if I can figure it out! The results are given in mg/kg rather than the mcg/g that Consumer Labs reported. I tried, but cannot convert to compare with the results of Navitas cacao. Wilderness Naturals claims cadmium results are below detectable levels, but I don't know if that's true. In any case, I don't think cocoa is critical.

My husband does not follow the entire Bredesan protocol. I am trying to go through it and gradually add what seems appropriate. There are things my husband includes that are not part of Bredesan (such as Lane-recommended aromatherapy).

I cannot pinpoint what seems to help the most. Nor can I say I have seen a noticeable improvement. What I do notice (or at least think I do) is a slight decline if he is off his protocol for more than a few days. This is all subjective on my part. He is only seen by his primary care physician, so has had no testing since his neuro-cog last spring.

Best to all in this battle!

Jackie

scma_2007
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015 1:40 PM
Joined: 9/13/2013
Posts: 112



Jackie,


Thank you for the brand.

The raw cacao that was found to have high cadmium level is Mars’ Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Powder (not the CocoVia).


Apparently, “heavy metal contamination (particularly cadmium) is an industry wide problem with cacao and not with any company in particular. This means all cacao powder is suspect at this point regardless of the company that packages and sells it. It is not from farming”. It is on the consumers to check their particular brand.


Onward,

I do not know of any good brand as this is all new to me from reading your post.

___________________________________________________________________


I have asked for distinct improvement because the latest study in Sep 2014 is particular on the flavanol’s effect using certain dosage.

Finding the protocols that work is an ongoing pursuit for all of us.

There is a thread posted in another forum titled “alternative medicine, supplements, what works for you” initiated by Alz+. Members Myriam and Iris L have listed their regimen. The link -

https://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?g=posts&t=2147507611

Myriam has mentioned that when she skipped aromatherapy, her days are off, same as Jackie’s husband’s case when he skipped his protocols.

What I would like to know is the problem/solution/effect of each supplement that has been tried at each stage that clearly shows the efficacy of the supplements.

For example, in my friend’s case when her mom started to be forgetful and repetitive. She gave her mom omega-3 first and then me-B12 later. Her mom’s only meds then is for hypertension.

She noticed that her symptoms stopped. But when her mom stopped her omega-3 due to its big size that is hard to swallow, she showed decline again - example , she was holding a hair brush and was asking what it is for. My friend noticed that when she added me-B12, her repetitiveness stopped. Two years later today, her mom is still okay and has joined a senior center group regularly where exercise is part of the program.

Another friend, when her mom became forgetful, she gave her me-B12 and her mom regained her memory.

In these stories, the common thread is that supplements where given when the problem was starting. And they have recovered and not declined. The recent FINGER study has proven that early therapeutic intervention works.

These two stories are true but will be considered anecdotal by readers. Also, the true underlying causes were never diagnosed.

This one thing I know, my mother was forgetful and repetitive and was having insomnia for a few years before she was finally diagnosed with moderate stage Alz. Like most people, we thought then that they were all part of old age.

It would be helpful if we can share this kind of info. But being forthright like this can invite negative perception and response. So maybe, in some cases, posting is not the best option, but private messaging will do.

Bottom line, anecdotal evidence is nice to know, but we all need to do further research.



onward
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015 5:48 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217


Jackie and scma,

I really appreciate all the information you shared.


Scma,

That's interesting about cases in which B12 stopped the repetitiveness.

Does "me-B12" mean methylcobalamin B12?

I'm interested to know what brand and dosage worked.

Although we've already tried a couple different brands and doses of methylcobalamin, am always interested to know specifics about what works for others.

Btw, in case it's of any help - our solution to the problem of swallowing and digesting omega-3 fish oil capsules was to switch to packets of Coromega-3 (available at amazon etc.).



scma_2007
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015 6:28 PM
Joined: 9/13/2013
Posts: 112



Yes, me-B12 is methylcobalamin B12.

I do not know the brand of B12 nor the dosage. But I am sure both gave their mothers the adult dose.

Interesting that you mention a kid's brand - Coro Omega-3. My friend substituted a kid's brand as well. She mentioned the brand but can't remember since it was 2 years ago. She is overseas.

BTW, it would be helpful to do 'Connections'. Sometimes, I may want to ask a quick question if certain things have been tried.

onward
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 4:44 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217


Thanks, scma.

I need to cut back on my online time and am not doing Connections now, but still look forward to following your and others' upcoming posts as best I'm able. Thanks again!


jackalar
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 4:44 PM
Joined: 11/25/2013
Posts: 29


Scma,

Thank you for the link to the "what works for you" thread. I believe I've seen it, but it's been a while. Time to revisit!

It would be best to have data on problem/solution/effect of each supplement tried. I'm afraid I've not approached this in such a precise manner, though. I added the cocoa to my husband's protocol at the same time I added turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, etc. It's all part of Einster. Some additions to the protocol have been added more sensibly... one at a time.

My husband started taking methylated b12 early on. His b12 level tested low normal when we first approached his primary doc about memory loss. Later on I added folate, P5P, and TMG due to high homocysteine.

It's encouraging to read about your friends' experiences. Anecdotal reports (especially positive ones!) help me keep going.

It would be great to compare notes.

~Jackie

jackalar
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 5:29 PM
Joined: 11/25/2013
Posts: 29


Onward,

I realize you are asking scma about the b12, but I'll put my two cents in anyway.

We have tried several brands, including Jarrows, Swansons, and Enzymatic Therapy. Right now he is taking Natural Factors. The Natural Factors dissolves very quickly sublingually (I take it also).

I initially gave him 5000 mcg/day, in the morning on an empty stomach. This brought his level up from 213 to just over 400 over the course of several months. Currently he takes 1000 mcg most days and 5000 1-2xs per week. Unfortunately, his doctor has no interest in retesting.

I can't say whether b12 helps or not.

~Jackie

onward
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 9:59 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 217


I appreciate your B12 info, Jackie. Thanks.

Right now, fwiw, we're doing the methylcobalamin B12 in the form of a supplement called Focal Point which also includes "Synapsa Bacopa Extract," "Cereboost American Ginseng Extract," and B6. I think this supplement may be helping a bit, but I keep cutting the dose back to less than what's recommended, because when taking more than one capsule daily, seems it may be causing a side effect of under-the-skin (subcutaneous??) small circular bleeding spots on the arms - perhaps due to too much of a blood-thinning effect - perhaps because another mild blood thinner, namely fish oil (Coromega-3), is also being taken. (And for a while we were also doing Turmeric which I think is also a blood thinner.)

(The dermatologist and the primary care doc say the bleeding spots are "very common" in older people and of no real concern.)


jackalar
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2015 7:11 AM
Joined: 11/25/2013
Posts: 29


Thanks for that information onward. I will look into those supplements.

I've seen a lot of older people with those spots. I understand your concern, though. When my husband was going for a tooth extraction recently, I discussed his supps with the oral surgeon. He was given the ok.

~Jackie