Chocolate May Be Key to Improve Memory

Photo+Courtesy+of+www.latimes.com

Photo Courtesy of www.latimes.com

Scientists have found that chocolate doesn’t only help blood flow but 60-year-olds memory work like a 30 or 40-year-olds memory, according to LA Times. A small trial set out to explore the effect of dietary “flavanols”(flavanols are a part in coca beans) on the dentate gyrus is part of the hippocampal formation. It plays a critical role in certain kinds of memory.

Scott Small, a professor of neurology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, researches Alzheimer’s, but he also studies the memory loss that occurs during the normal aging process. Research on the commonplace “senior moments” focuses on the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with formation of new memories.  In particular, one area of the hippocampus, the dentate gyrus, which helps distinguish one object from another, has lured researchers on age-related memory problems, according to scientificamerican.com.

Mars Company created a test drink that concentrated about 900 milligrams of flavanols. They tested this on 19 people, aged 50-69. These people drank the test drink for 3 months daily. Another group this time 18 people drank a different test drink. This test drink only contained 10 milligrams of flavonols, according to LA Times.

“You’d have to eat 25 chocolate bars a day to get 900 milligrams of flavanols, the amount we used, which is a bad idea. There is a commercial formulation with a much lower amount [CocoaVia, a supplement from Mars, Inc.],” .according scientificamerican.com . No commercially available formulation has 900 milligrams. Maybe in the future, companies will develop that.

After three months, the group that got the supercharged flavanol drink showed greatly improved performance on the test of memory. The low-flavanol  group didn’t show much improvement, according to LA Times.