Acute consumption of varied doses of cocoa flavanols does not improve muscle recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage in active males and females

Liam Corr, Adam Field, Deborah Pufal, Jenny Killey, Tom Clifford, Liam Harper, Robert Naughton

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Polyphenol consumption has become a popular method of trying to temper muscle damage. Cocoa flavanols (CF) have attracted attention due to their high polyphenol content and palatability. As such, this study will investigate whether an acute dose of CF can aid recovery following exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD). The study was a laboratory-based, randomised, single-blind, nutrient-controlled trial involving 23 participants (13 females, 10 males). Participants were randomised into either control ~0mg CF (CON, n=8, 4 females), high dose of 830mg CF (CF830, n=8, 5 females) or supra dose of 1245mg CF (CF1245, n=7, 4 females). The EIMD protocol consisted of five sets of 10 maximal concentric/eccentric hamstring curls and immediately consumed their assigned drink following completion. To measure muscle recovery, maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the knee flexors at 60° and 30°, a visual analogue scale (VAS) and lower extremity function scale (LEFS) were taken at baseline, immediately, 24, 48 and 72-hr post-EIMD. There was a main effect for time for all variables (P<0.05). However, no significant differences were observed between groups for all measures (P>0.17). At 48 hr there were large effect sizes between CON and CF1245 for MVIC60 (P=0.17, d=0.8), MVIC30 (P=0.26, d=0.8), MVIC30 percentage change (P=0.24 d=0.9) and VAS (P=0.25, d=0.9). As no significant differences were observed following the consumption of CF there is reason to believe that CF offer no benefit for muscle recovery when ingested acutely.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 May 2020


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