Cocoa may prevent age-related hearing loss, study finds

Cocoa may prevent age-related hearing loss, study finds
Cocoa may prevent age-related hearing loss, study finds

A study by the Otorhinolaryngology (ORL) research group at the European University-Getafe Hospital has shown that there are beneficial effects of cocoa consumption to prevent age-related hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder among the elderly population. Although there is currently no definitive treatment, the group is working on research to try to better understand this condition and explore new preventive therapies.

The initial hypothesis of the study was based on the evidence that the oxidative stresswhich increases with age, contributes to hearing loss. Since the polyphenolspresent in high concentrations in cocoa, have antioxidant properties, it was suggested that they could mitigate this hearing deterioration.

Preliminary results were obtained through a design based on a mouse model of different ages: 6 months (young adults), 14 months (older adults) and 22 months (elderly). This approach allowed for experiments at a molecular level that are not feasible in humans.

The study included 100 miceequally distributed between males and females. Half of the mice were given a diet rich in cocoa (8.2 g/kg), while the other half received a normal diet. cacao The diet used in the study, purchased in the United Kingdom, contains no sugar and is especially rich in polyphenols. The mice consumed this diet daily, achieving an approximate consumption of 25 mg of cocoa per day.

As for the observed results, researchers have concluded that mice aged 14 and 22 months that consumed cocoa from 3 months have shown a significant improvement in their hearing compared to those that have followed a normal diet.

“This indicates that cocoa polyphenols may prevent age-related hearing loss, possibly due to their antioxidant properties that reduce oxidative stress and protect the auditory cells of the Organ of Corti,” say experts from the European University.

This study, funded by the Health Research Fund of the Carlos III Health Institute and FEDER Funds (PI19/01524), opens new insights for the prevention of presbycusis. Although further studies in humans are required to determine the most effective doses and forms of consumption, these findings suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants, including cocoa, may be beneficial for hearing health.

In this sense, they point out that “there are studies that show that a cup of cocoa is the drink with the highest number of antioxidants that exists. The way to make the most of all its properties is in soluble form, dissolved in hot water or milk.”

The team is currently analyzing blood, urine and Organ of Corti samples from the mice to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of cocoa. This study could influence future dietary recommendations for the prevention of hearing loss and other age-related pathologies.

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