Epicatechin bodybuilding


David Tomen
David Tomen
8 minute read
Epicatechin is known for boosting energy, memory, focus, longevity, and muscle growth and recovery

What is Epicatechin?

You may not recognize it by name, but if your daily diet includes fruits and vegetables, you’re likely consuming epicatechin – roughly about 15 milligrams a day.[i]

epicatechin chemical structureAs a nootropic, epicatechin has been shown to provide immense potential for boosting cognitive function, metabolism, energy levels, and athletic performance.

Epicatechin is a flavanol easily obtained through your diet and is present in tea, cocoa, berries, vegetables, fruits, and cereals.[ii]

A study in the Netherlands showed that older men with higher epicatechin levels in their system had a 46% lower risk of dying compared to those with lower or no epicatechin in their system.[iii]

As an anti-aging nootropic, epicatechin appears to be more effective than Resveratrol and Curcumin for extending lifespan.[iv]

This article uncovers the science-backed potential of epicatechin as a nootropic supplement.

You’ll learn the benefits when using epicatechin, how it’s used, potential side effects, dosage recommendations, and the best type of epicatechin to buy.

Epicatechin benefitsHow Epicatechin works in your brain

Epicatechin boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. Epicatechin is a potent antioxidant. It is a part of the catechin antioxidant family, the same family as the more well-known epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is found in green tea.

Epicatechin is only now being studied as an offshoot of the research on EGCG, which was once thought to be a more potent antioxidant[v].

However, recent studies have shown that epicatechin demonstrates a different mechanism of action, which is unique compared to EGCG and other flavanols.

A study published in Biotechnology Advances in 2018 found that epicatechin antioxidant benefits include preventing oxidative damage, and endothelial dysfunction (damage to cells lining blood vessels).[vi]

  1. Epicatechin for learning and memory. As a nootropic, epicatechin is highly bioavailable (82%) and can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.[vii]

Several clinical studies show epicatechin when used as a nootropic supplement can boost short-term and working memory, long-term memory, and memory retention and retrieval.[viii]

Epicatechin can also boost cerebral blood flow. Several studies have shown to using epicatechin as a supplement can increase dendritic spine density and blood capillary density.[ix]

Better brain blood flow means more water, oxygen and nutrients into and flowing throughout your brain. Which allows for a healthier brain resulting in a boost in cognitive function and memory.

Epicatechin Benefits

Epicatechin is a natural antioxidant polyphenol which are present in foods like red wine, green tea, apples, berries, pomegranates and dark chocolate.

Epicatechin helps prevent free radical damage to brain cells. Oxidative stress can kill brain cells.

Those using epicatechin as a nootropic report better executive function, improved memory, and faster brain processing speed.

And bodybuilders supplementing with epicatechin have better muscle endurance, and reduced muscle fatigue.

Epicatechin supplementHow does Epicatechin feel?

Neurohackers who added epicatechin to their nootropic stack report enhanced muscle growth and strength, increased nitric oxide production for better blood flow, and improved insulin sensitivity.

Others say epicatechin lowered their cholesterol to healthy levels. More energy and reduced fatigue.

Many say that using epicatechin every day promotes muscle recovery, better cardiovascular efficiency during workouts, and they no longer get muscle soreness after a heavy workout

Some say adding epicatechin to their nootropic stack had a substantial impact on their mental state. They feel more motivated, but not with more twitchy energy like you get from caffeine

Others using epicatechin say they have a more focused mind and more energy at work, and to work out at the gym.

Older Neurohackers report after supplementing with epicatechin say it’s easier to bend down, crouch, and pick things up compared to before which to simply pick something up was a struggle.

One user said she noticed reduced appetite, better sleep/recovery, fat loss, heavier lifts, denser muscles, and a much better VO2 Max which means not gassing out on runs and rides.

Another power lifter, after adding epicatechin to his stack said he now has stamina that he has not had in years. And he feels like 27 again at 47 years old.

Epicatechin Clinical Research

Turns out human research is critically important when studying polyphenols like epicatechin. Because epicatechin in rats and mice were not detected when tested compared to its absorption in humans.[x]

 For example, epicatechin absorption in humans when taken as a supplement is 82 ± 5% and your gut microbiome is a key driver of this absorption. But we have more animal studies than human studies using epicatechin.

It turns out that animal studies are helpful in understanding how epicatechin works on a mitochondrial level. And these studies show us why many athletes and bodybuilders using epicatechin report improved muscle mass, and better recovery time after a workout.

Epicatechin supports mitochondrial function & boosts energy

Epicatechin bodybuildingMitochondrial dysfunction is implicated on a broad range of human diseases. So, any supplement we can add to our stack to support our mitochondria should help improve quality of life.

Each neuron in your brain depends on the support of up to 2 million mitochondria per neuron.[xi] Our daily energy is dependent on the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) produced in each mitochondria.

Several studies have shown epicatechin supplementation is associated with an increase in epicatechin content in muscle and brain mitochondria.[xii]

Epicatechin stimulates Sirt1 which supports mitochondrial biogenesis. More mitochondria translates into an energy boost.

Epicatechin protects mitochondria from excess calcium which could lead to brain cell death if not regulated.

As an energy production center, mitochondria produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which if produced in excess will kill brain cells. Epicatechin supplementation helps maintain the balance of the production of ROS and scavenging.

Epicatechin used as a nootropic supplement boosts mitochondrial function which improves exercise capacity, muscle function and recovery, and brain performance and function.[xiii]

Epicatechin for cognition, memory and brain performance

A study funded by Nestec SA; a division of Nestlé worked with older adults to study the cognitive effects of using epicatechin which is the primary active compound found in cacao.

The study concluded that epicatechin at dosages above 50 mg help boost executive function, memory, and processing speed. The benefits were more pronounced after 28 days of daily epicatechin supplementation.[xiv]

Epicatechin for longevity

Several studies have shown the consumption of Cocao, and tea is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Cacao and tea are major dietary sources of epicatechin.

A study published in 2016 investigated the association of epicatechin intake with 25-year mortality in elderly Dutch men. Data was taken from the Zutphen Elderly Study which was a cohort study of 774 men aged 65 – 84 years in 1985.

Epicatechin intake was estimated to be approx. 25 mg per day over the prior 25 years. The researchers found that epicatechin intake was associated with a 46% lower risk of death due to heart disease.[xv]

Epicatechin recommended dosage

The recommended nootropic dosage for Epicatechin is 50 – 200 mg per day.

Carbohydrates in your diet may increase the absorption of Epicatechin.[xvi]

Epicatechin Side Effects

Epicatechin is considered non-toxic and safe to use as a nootropic supplement.

Published in the journal Food & Function, researchers studied the effects of supplementing with 50, 100 or 200 mg or multiple doses of 50 mg daily or twice daily for 5 days.

The study concluded Epicatechin was safe to use with no observed adverse effects.[xvii]

Best type of Epicatechin to buy

Epicatechin is available as tubs of powder, tablets, or capsules.

I recommend Nootropics Depot Epicatechin 90% Powder or Epicatechin Tablets with Piperine

Nootropic Expert Recommendation

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedEpicatechin 50 – 200 mg per day

I recommend using Epicatechin as a nootropic supplement

Your body does not make Epicatechin on its own. So you must get it from foods such as cacao or tea, or as a supplement.

Epicatechin is especially helpful for boosting blood flow in the brain.

Bodybuilders and athletes find supplementing with epicatechin speeds muscle growth. And helps with recovery after a workout.

Epicatechin is only one of two nootropic supplements I know of which boosts the growth of new mitochondria. This results in more energy and better brain performance. The other is PQQ.

Epicatechin is one of the better “anti-aging” nootropics we have available. Users report feeling “younger” after several days of using this supplement.

Start with 100 mg Epicatechin per day and see how you react to this supplement. If all goes well, you may want to increase your dose to 200 mg and see if you feel a difference. If not, then reduce your dose to the original 100 mg Epicatechin per day.

I recommend Nootropics Depot Epicatechin 90% Powder or Epicatechin Tablets with Piperine

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


[i] Dower JI, Geleijnse JM, Hollman PCh, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Kromhout D. “Dietary epicatechin intake and 25-y risk of cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Jul;104(1):58-64. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.128819. Epub 2016 May 25. (source)

[ii] Qu Z, Liu A, Li P, Liu C, Xiao W, Huang J, Liu Z, Zhang S. “Advances in physiological functions and mechanisms of (-)-epicatechin.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2021;61(2):211-233. (source)

[iii] Dower JI, Geleijnse JM, Hollman PCh, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Kromhout D. “Dietary epicatechin intake and 25-y risk of cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Jul;104(1):58-64. (source)

[iv] Si H, Lai CQ, Liu D. “Dietary Epicatechin, A Novel Anti-aging Bioactive Small Molecule.” Current Medical Chemistry. 2021;28(1):3-18. (source)

[v] Xu JZ, Yeung SY, Chang Q, Huang Y, Chen ZY. “Comparison of antioxidant activity and bioavailability of tea epicatechins with their epimers.” British Journal of Nutrition. 2004 Jun;91(6):873-81.(source)

[vi] Bernatova I. “Biological activities of (-)-epicatechin and (-)-epicatechin-containing foods: Focus on cardiovascular and neuropsychological health”. Biotechnology Advances. 2018 May-Jun;36(3):666-681. (source)

[vii] Faria A, Pestana D, Teixeira D, Couraud PO, Romero I, Weksler B, de Freitas V, Mateus N, Calhau C. “Insights into the putative catechin and epicatechin transport across blood-brain barrier.” Food and Function. 2011 Jan;2(1):39-44. (source)

[viii] Del Rio D, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Spencer JP, Tognolini M, Borges G, Crozier A. “Dietary (poly)phenolics in human health: structures, bioavailability, and evidence of protective effects against chronic diseases”. Antioxidant Redox Signal. 2013 May 10;18(14):1818-92. (source)

[ix] Brickman AM, Khan UA, Provenzano FA, Yeung LK, Suzuki W, Schroeter H, Wall M, Sloan RP, Small SA. “Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults”. Natural Neuroscience. 2014 Dec;17(12):1798-803. (source)

[x] Ottaviani JI, Borges G, Momma TY, Spencer JP, Keen CL, Crozier A, Schroeter H. “The metabolome of [2-(14)C](-)-epicatechin in humans: implications for the assessment of efficacy, safety, and mechanisms of action of polyphenolic bioactives.” Scientific Reports. 2016 Jul 1;6:29034. (source)

[xi] Kwon D. “Could Mitochondria Be the Key to a Healthy Brain?” Scientific American June 18, 2021 (source) Retrieved June 28, 2024

[xii] Ramírez-Sánchez I, Rodríguez A, Moreno-Ulloa A, Ceballos G, Villarreal F. “(-)-Epicatechin-induced recovery of mitochondria from simulated diabetes: Potential role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.” Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research. 2016 May;13(3):201-10. (source)

[xiii] Frédéric N Daussin, Elsa Heyman, Yan Burelle, “Effects of (−)-epicatechin on mitochondria,” Nutrition Reviews, Volume 79, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 25–41, (source)

[xiv] Haskell-Ramsay CF, Schmitt J, Actis-Goretta L. “The Impact of Epicatechin on Human Cognition: The Role of Cerebral Blood Flow.” Nutrients. 2018 Jul 27;10(8):986. (source)

[xv] Dower JI, Geleijnse JM, Hollman PCh, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Kromhout D. “Dietary epicatechin intake and 25-y risk of cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Jul;104(1):58-64. (source)

[xvi] Taub PR, Ramirez-Sanchez I, Ciaraldi TP, Perkins G, Murphy AN, Naviaux R, Hogan M, Maisel AS, Henry RR, Ceballos G, Villarreal F. Alterations in skeletal muscle indicators of mitochondrial structure and biogenesis in patients with type 2 diabetes and heart failure: effects of epicatechin rich cocoa. Clinical and Translational Science. 2012 Feb;5(1):43-7. (source)

[xvii] Barnett CF, Moreno-Ulloa A, Shiva S, Ramirez-Sanchez I, Taub PR, Su Y, Ceballos G, Dugar S, Schreiner G, Villarreal F. “Pharmacokinetic, partial pharmacodynamic and initial safety analysis of (-)-epicatechin in healthy volunteers”. Food & Function. 2015 Mar;6(3):824-33. (source)

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