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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017 Apr;57(4):441-447. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06032-1. Epub 2015 Dec 2.

An association of cocoa consumption with improved physical fitness and decreased muscle damage and oxidative stress in athletes.

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School of Medicine, Polytechnic National Institute, México City, México.
Department of Biochemistry, General Yanga Hospital, Córdoba, Veracruz, México.
School of Medicine, Polytechnic National Institute, México City, México -



Several studies have demonstrated the protective effects of cocoa consumption, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Acute exercise induces oxidative stress and causes muscular damage during training. This study was designed to examine the effect of cocoa consumption on the markers of muscle damage, oxidative stress and physical fitness in professional soccer players.


Fifteen players (15-18 years old) were included in the study. Biochemical parameters, markers of muscle damage and oxidative stress, and physical performance were evaluated before and after cocoa consumption. Biochemical parameters determined the healthy metabolic status of the study group; biomarkers of muscle and oxidative damage were measured in blood to establish muscle and redox status.


However, high levels of biomarkers of muscle damage were detected. Interestingly, cocoa consumption decreased the muscle damage biomarkers of CK and LDH by 39.4% and 23.03%, respectively. The redox status was modified by a decrease in oxidative damage (carbonyl groups, 26.31%; thiol groups, 27.52%; MDA, 32.42%) and an increase in total antioxidant capacity (15.98%) and GSH-Px activity (26.37%). In addition, we observed an increase in physical performance by 4% in the Cooper Test.


Our findings suggest that a short period of cocoa consumption could be useful in maintaining a good physical fitness, due to the favourable effects on muscle and redox status in athletes during exhaustive exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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