E. Gomez, S. Nahulu, C. Yoshimura, W.M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Little empirical evidence exists to support the efficacy of cacao supplementation as a recovery agent amongst competitive athletes. Despite this, cacao powder (CA) is rich in flavanols that can exhibit antioxidant properties in the human body. Flavanol-rich CA may offer an alternative path to recovery for athletes. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of flavanol-rich CA supplementation on recovery from exercise-induced muscle soreness as indicated by vertical jump performance (VJ), a lower extremity functional scale (LEFS), and pain pressure threshold (PPT). METHODS: Twelve, college-aged, Division III NCAA male and female athletes (nm = 8, nf = 4) participated in a pre-testing session that consisted of a LEFS questionnaire, PPT measurements for the hamstrings and quadriceps, VJ performance, and a drop jump (DJ) protocol. Following the DJ protocol, participants received either CA or placebo (PL) supplementation. CA supplementation consisted of 375-mg of cocoa flavanols in pill form. Post-testing was completed 48-hrs later. Analyses of variance (p ≤ 0.05) were utilized to determine the existence of significant differences between conditions. RESULTS: No differences were observed (p > 0.05) between CA and PL groups for all dependent variables (see Table 1). CONCLUSION: Under these research conditions, cacao supplementation did not appear to improve recovery or perceived soreness. The dose of cocoa flavanols may have been too little to elicit an ergogenic effect on recovery and the sample population was too small. Further research is needed to investigate the optimal dosage of cocoa flavanols.

Table 1.docx (12 kB)
Table 1

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