Cocoa-based protein and carbohydrate drink decreases perceived soreness after exhaustive aerobic exercise: a pragmatic preliminary analysis

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Aug;24(8):2203-10. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e4f7f9.


The purpose of this pragmatic preliminary analysis was to examine the effectiveness of a cocoa-based protein and carbohydrate prototype drink on skeletal muscle damage and perceived soreness after exhaustive exercise. A repeated-measures experimental design was used. Common biomarkers indicative of skeletal muscle damage included creatine kinase (CK), urinary isoprostanes and inflammatory markers (IL-6, IL-8, C-Reactive Protein [CRP]). Self-reported perception of postexercise soreness was also evaluated. Seven men participated in an exercise session consisting of a 30-minute run on a declined treadmill (-10% grade). Running speed was adjusted accordingly so that participants consistently maintained 75% maximal heart rate. Drinks were ingested immediately after exercise, 2 hours postexercise, and before bed. Blood draws were sampled 30, 60, 120, and 360 minutes postexercise; urine was collected 24 and 48 hours postexercise. A perceived soreness questionnaire was administered 24 and 48 hours postexercise. The test drink had no effect on IL-6, CK, IL-8, CRP, or urinary isoprostanes (p > 0.05). However, the drink decreased the change in perceived soreness from 24 to 48 hours (p = 0.03). Consuming the drink after exercise resulted in a mean change of 2.6 +/- 6 compared to 13.7 +/- 10 for the control. In summary, the drink was effective in decreasing the level of self-reported perceived soreness after exhaustive exercise.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Beverages*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cacao / metabolism*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Creatine Kinase