The effect of cocoa consumption on markers of oxidative stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional studies

Complement Ther Med. 2020 Jan;48:102240. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102240. Epub 2019 Nov 26.


A number of studies have examined the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption on markers of oxidative stress in different population, however, the findings have been inconclusive. Herein, we systematically reviewed available interventional studies to elucidate the overall impact of cocoa consumption on markers of oxidative stress among adult population. PubMed, Cochrane's library, Science Direct, Scopus, Google scholar and ISI web of science databases were searched for all available literature until March 2019 for relevant studies. The Jadad scale was used to assess the quality of each study. A total of 48 studies out of 1402 met the inclusion criteria and were included in our systematic review and 16 of them were entered in meta-analysis. The pooled estimate from the random-effect model showed cocoa consumption significantly reduced malondialdehyde (SMD: -0.71; 95 % CI, -1.41 to -0.01; P = 0.048) and 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (WMD: -43.76; 95 % CI, -76.25 to -11.28; P = 0.008) but not the other markers of oxidative stress. Our findings support the concept that cocoa consumption plays an important role in the human metabolic pathway through reducing the oxidative stress. In order to draw a firm link between cocoa and oxidative stress, more clinical trials with adequate sample size and sufficient follow-up periods are warranted.

Keywords: Cocoa; Meta-analysis; Oxidative stress; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cacao*
  • Chocolate*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress*