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Welcome to the Mars Edge Cocoa Flavanol Science Hub

cocoa pods and other fruits

Our Vision

At Mars Edge, we collaborate with a global network of leading scientific partners to further research into cocoa flavanols and health – and contribute to better lives through nutrition. We do so because we believe that:

Health is more than the absence of disease
Health is more than the absence of disease

We believe it’s important to establish biomarkers of health when assessing the impact of nutrition, rather than rely solely on a definition of health based on the "absence of disease."

Nutrition has a massive impact on health
Nutrition has a massive impact on health

We believe insights into the role of dietary status and nutrient intake are key to our health.

Bioactives show huge promise
Bioactives show huge promise

In the context of a healthy diet, we believe there is a need to broaden today’s essential nutrient-centric approach and include bioactive food constituents in scientific assessment and, if warranted, in recommendations for diet and health.

Biomedical research has shown the benefits of cocoa flavanols
Cocoa flavanols offer benefits for heart and brain health

Research shows dietary flavanols–including those derived from cocoa–offer important benefits to human health. For over 20 years, we have been studying cocoa flavanols to understand their role in supporting health and, potentially even improving outcomes related to certain diseases.


Dietary flavanols restore hippocampal-dependent memory in older adults with lower diet quality and habitual flavanol consumption

The results from COSMOS Web, an independent trial under the umbrella of the COSMOS trial, have been published. COSMOS Web showed that flavanols work to maintain hippocampal memory and cognitive performance during normal cognitive aging.

COSMOS Web is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, studying the effects of flavanols on memory and cognitive aging at scale. The trial was conceived and led by researchers at Columbia University.


New research shows theobromine can increase absorption of cocoa flavanols

It is widely known that certain combinations of foods and dietary compounds my modulate the absorption and effect of specific nutrients and bioactives in the diet.

In a recent study, Javier Ottaviani, Director of the Mars Edge Core Laboratory at UC Davis, discusses his team’s new research that investigated an emerging area that may modulate flavanols effect: the interaction between flavanols and caffeine and other related compounds in the diet. Read more about this emerging science in Dr. Ottaviani’s blog post.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has issued a first-of-its-kind recommendation of daily flavanol intake to support cardiometabolic health. Dr Catherine Kwik-Uribe discusses the significance of this milestone and how understanding of flavanols and health is advancing for the benefit of the public.

Food image

Bioactives: Redefining healthy ageing with food

*Originally appeared online in New Food Magazine*
Dr Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and Scientific Research from Mars Edge shares the initial findings of an in-depth study into our ageing global population; highlighting key takeaways regarding the health benefits of bioactives in our diet.


Beyond essential nutrients: moving toward a recommendation for flavanols

We are well-aware of the dietary need for vitamins and minerals - nutrients that are considered essential to support normal body function and growth. If a person doesn’t ingest adequate iron from their diet, they can develop anemia. If their intake of vitamin D is inadequate, there is risk of low bone density and in severe cases, rickets. Low to inadequate vitamin C intake affects many aspects of health, from immune to skin function to wound healing.


COSMOS: Large-scale trial shows promise of cocoa flavanols

The first results from COSMOS, the largest nutrition study investigating effects of cocoa flavanols on heart health, have been published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study findings could have important implications for public health.


A new method for measuring and reporting on cocoa flavanol content

After a two year evaluation period, an analytical method to measure and quantify cocoa flavanols, developed by a team at Mars, has been recommended as a Final Action Official Method of Analysis℠ by the AOAC – the final step before becoming an official method of analysis.

In this blog, Dr Catherine Kwik-Uribe, VP Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Applied Science & Nutrition at Mars Edge, discusses the history of the method, this new and exciting announcement, and the importance of having a validated and standardized method .

Cocoa pods surrounded by other fruit on a table

How analytical methods underpin insights into the benefits of flavanols

Javier Ottaviani, Director of the Mars Edge Core Laboratory at UC Davis, shares his insights about the importance of analytical methods in underpinning the accuracy and objectivity of nutritional research.

In his blog, he also outlines analytical methods to measure and accurately report on bioactives in food and the human body.

20 years of research infographic

20 Years of cocoa flavanol research

Over the last 20 years, we’ve been studying the flavanols in cocoa, creating a world-leading research program to jointly advance the understanding of these compounds and their potential to maintain and optimize health.

Together with our global partners, we’ve contributed to a growing body of evidence that shows regular
consumption of flavanols can support, and even improve, cardiovascular and cognitive function.

COSMOS trial logo

The COSMOS Trial

COSMOS (the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamins Outcome Study) is the largest clinical dietary intervention examining the impact of intake of cocoa flavanols and multivitamins on health and risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

It examines over 21,000 generally healthy men and women over 60 in the U.S., and takes place over 5 years. The trial is run by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


Setting the record straight on chocolate.

It is widely – but erroneously – claimed that dark chocolate is a health food. What’s behind this is a growing interest in flavanols - found in many common foods including cocoa beans. These compounds have been shown to promote heart health and improve cognitive function.

But, as sweet as it may sound, it’s not appropriate to recommend any type of chocolate as a food that supports health. In our latest blog, Dr Catherine Kwik-Uribe, VP Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Applied Science & Nutrition at Mars Edge, tells us why.

What are cocoa flavanols?
Research library
The COSMOS trial
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