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Nutr Res. 2008 Jun;28(6):377-82. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.03.018.

Cocoa confers life span extension in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3.


Cocoa is thought to be an excellent source of antioxidants. Here, we investigated the effects of cocoa supplementation on Drosophila melanogaster life span under different oxidative stress conditions. Our results illustrate that a moderate supplementation of cocoa under normoxia increases the average life span, whereas, at higher concentrations, average life span is normal. Under hyperoxia or in a Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase-deficient background, cocoa exhibited a strong antioxidant activity, significantly increasing the average life span. Nevertheless, cocoa supplementation in a Mn-superoxide dismutase-deficient background enhanced an earlier mortality accompanied by a loss of climbing ability, indicating that cocoa may act as a pro-oxidant in mitochondria under conditions of extreme oxidative stress. Finally, we illustrate that cocoa also acts as a metal chelator in the presence of excess heavy metals, enhancing larval survival to the adult stage on copper or iron-supplemented medium. Taken together, our results document the antioxidative, pro-oxidative, and metal-chelating effects of cocoa on Drosophila melanogaster life span.

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