Heart Health: Cocoa flavanol benefits on circulation and the cardiovascular system have been extensively studied and published over the past two decades. Key studies highlight improvements in circulation, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol levels (lower LDL & higher HDL), and insulin resistance. A notable recent study, measuring inputs associated with the Framingham Risk Model, projected a 30% reduction in cardiovascular deaths over a ten year period. Below are publication summaries of clinical studies assessing the impact of cocoa flavanols on cardiovascular health:
Cocoa flavanol intake improves endothelial function and Framingham Risk Score in healthy men and women: a randomised, controlled, double-masked trial: the Flaviola Health Study.
British Journal of Nutrition
Cocoa flavanol (CF) intake improves endothelial function in patients with cardiovascular risk factors and disease. We investigated the effects of CF on surrogate markers of cardiovascular health in low risk, healthy, middle-aged individuals without history, signs or symptoms of CVD. In a 1-month, open-label, one-armed pilot study, bi-daily ingestion of 450 mg of CF led… Read more »
Impact of cocoa flavanol intake on age-dependent vascular stiffness in healthy men: a randomized, controlled, double-masked trial.
Increased vascular stiffness, endothelial dysfunction, and isolated systolic hypertension are hallmarks of vascular aging. Regular cocoa flavanol (CF) intake can improve vascular function in healthy young and elderly at-risk individuals. However, the mechanisms underlying CF bioactivity remain largely unknown. We investigated the effects of CF intake on cardiovascular function in healthy young and elderly individuals… Read more »
Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study–a randomized controlled trial.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
BACKGROUND: Recent evidence has indicated that flavanol consumption may have many health benefits in humans, including improved cognitive activities. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to evaluate the effect of flavanol consumption on cognitive performance in cognitively intact elderly subjects. DESIGN: This was a double-blind, controlled, parallel-arm study conducted in 90 elderly individuals without clinical evidence of… Read more »
Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study.
Flavanol consumption is favorably associated with cognitive function. We tested the hypothesis that dietary flavanols might improve cognitive function in subjects with mild cognitive impairment. We conducted a double-blind, parallel arm study in 90 elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment randomized to consume once daily for 8 weeks a drink containing ≈990 mg (high flavanols),… Read more »
Dose-related effects of flavanol-rich cocoa on blood pressure.
Journal of Human Hypertension
Consumption of flavanol-containing cocoa products has been shown to lower blood pressure (BP), but the minimum dose required to reduce BP is not known. This study aimed to examine the effect of three different doses of cocoa flavanols (CF) on 24-h mean arterial BP. Twenty four hour ambulatory BP (24-ABP) monitoring was performed in 32… Read more »
Impact of cocoa flavanol consumption on blood pressure responsiveness to exercise.
British Journal of Nutrition
Impaired endothelial vasodilatation may contribute to the exaggerated blood pressure (BP) responses to exercise in individuals who are overweight/obese. The present study investigated whether consumption of cocoa flavanols, which improve endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), can modify BP responsiveness to exercise. Twenty-one volunteers (eight females and thirteen males, 54.9 (se 2.2) years, BMI 31.6 (se 0.8)… Read more »
Effect of cocoa flavanols and exercise on cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight and obese subjects.
International Journal of Obesity
OBJECTIVE: Impaired endothelial function in obesity may reduce blood flow to sites of metabolism, contributing to impaired fat oxidation and insulin resistance. This study investigated the effects of cocoa flavanols and regular exercise, interventions known to improve endothelial function, on cardiometabolic function and body composition in obese individuals. DESIGN: Overweight and obese adults were randomly… Read more »
Sustained benefits in vascular function through flavanol-containing cocoa in medicated diabetic patients a double-masked, randomized, controlled trial.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology
OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to test feasibility and efficacy of a dietary intervention based on daily intake of flavanol-containing cocoa for improving vascular function of medicated diabetic patients. BACKGROUND: Even in fully medicated diabetic patients, overall prognosis is unfavorable due to deteriorated cardiovascular function. Based on epidemiological data, diets rich in flavanols are associated with… Read more »
Effects of cocoa flavanols on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Epidemiologic investigations support the hypothesis that regular consumption of flavonoid-containing foods can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). While flavonoids are ubiquitous in plants, cocoa can be particularly rich in a sub-class of flavonoids known as flavanols. A number of human dietary intervention trials with flavanol-containing cocoa products have demonstrated improvements in endothelial and… Read more »
Sustained increase in flow-mediated dilation after daily intake of high-flavanol cocoa drink over 1 week.
Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
A single-dose ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa acutely reverses endothelial dysfunction. To investigate the time course of endothelial function during daily consumption of high-flavanol cocoa, we determined flow-mediated dilation (FMD) acutely (for up to 6 hours after single-dose ingestion) and chronically (administration for 7 days). The study population represented individuals with smoking-related endothelial dysfunction; in addition… Read more »