Welcome to the Mars Edge Cocoa Flavanol Science Hub
At Mars Edge, we collaborate with a global network of leading scientific partners to further research into cocoa flavanols and health – and contribute to better lives through nutrition. We do so because we believe that:
Health is more than the absence of disease
We believe it’s important to establish biomarkers of health when assessing the impact of nutrition, rather than rely solely on a definition of health based on the "absence of disease."
Nutrition has a massive impact on health
We believe insights into the role of dietary status and nutrient intake are key to our health.
Bioactives show huge promise
In the context of a healthy diet, we believe there is a need to broaden today’s essential nutrient-centric approach and include bioactive food constituents in scientific assessment and, if warranted, in recommendations for diet and health.
Biomedical research has shown the benefits of cocoa flavanols for heart and brain health
Research shows dietary flavanols–including those derived from cocoa–offer important benefits to human health. For more than 20 years, we have been studying cocoa flavanols to understand their role in supporting health and, potentially even improving outcomes related to certain diseases.
Interested in learning more about our cocoa flavanol research program? Check out the latest news and research.
How analytical methods underpin insights into the benefits of flavanols
Javier Ottaviani, Director of the Mars Edge Core Laboratory at UC Davis, shares his insights about the importance of analytical methods in underpinning the accuracy and objectivity of nutritional research.
In his blog, he also outlines analytical methods to measure and accurately report on bioactives in food and the human body.
20 Years of Cocoa Flavanol Research
Over the last 20 years, we’ve been studying the flavanols in cocoa, creating a world-leading research program to jointly advance the understanding of these compounds and their potential to maintain and optimize health.
Together with our global partners, we’ve contributed to a growing body of evidence that shows regular
consumption of flavanols can support, and even improve, cardiovascular and cognitive function.
(–)-epicatechin: The critical component of cocoa flavanols
Javier Ottaviani, Director of the Mars Edge Core Laboratory at UC Davis, shares his interest in (–)-epicatechin, a critical, biologically active component of cocoa flavanols that can have a positive impact on health.
He highlights Mars Edge’s past research into the compound and its benefits to cardiovascular health, however warning that processing cocoa impacts the level of (−)-epicatechin, and subsequently these benefits.
Diet quality and increased flavanol intake may be linked to improved memory
Diet quality and dietary flavanols may be linked to age-related memory function and could have an important role to play in slowing declines associated with normal aging.
A recent collaboration between Columbia University’s Irving Medical Centre and Mars Edge used concentrated cocoa extract capsules to investigate the effects of cocoa flavanols on memory and cognitive performance. Chocolate was not used in this study and the findings should not be linked to chocolate.
COSMOS (the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamins Outcome Study) is the largest clinical dietary intervention examining the impact of intake of cocoa flanavols and multivitamins on health and risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
It examines over 21,000 generally healthy men and women over 60 in the U.S., and takes place over 5 years. The trial is run by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.