Flavanol-rich cocoa could offer powerful cardiovascular benefits for the nearly 78 million baby boomers in the United States today, suggests a new study published in the August issue of the Journal of Hypertension.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that drinking a standardized flavanol-rich cocoa beverage improved several measures of blood vessel function, especially among older study participants. Flavanols are the natural compounds in cocoa that are increasingly being linked to promising circulatory benefits – including improved blood flow and a reduced tendency to form damaging clots.
In the current study, 15 healthy young adults under age 50, and 19 healthy adults over age 50 drank the specially-made flavanol rich cocoa beverage daily for four to six days. The researchers tracked changes in the function of their peripheral arteries using several measures, including peripheral arterial tonometry a standard method for evaluating the health of an individual's blood vessels. At the study's completion, significant improvements in vessel function following the consumption of flavanol rich cocoa were seen in both young and older adults. While aging has previously been shown to lead to a deterioration of blood vessel function, this study is the first to demonstrate that the consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa can improve this age-related loss of vessel function in older adults. In agreement with previous studies using this same cocoa, these improvements in both young and older adults appear to be linked to the ability of cocoa flavanols to influence the body's production of nitric oxide, a key regulator of blood vessel tone.
Compared to the younger subjects, the vessel responses of the older men and women were significantly more pronounced after drinking the flavanol-rich cocoa beverage -- suggesting that the consumption of this flavanol rich cocoa offers a dietary approach for maintaining endothelial vessel function, and indicates the possibility that this cocoa could be useful for improving endothelial function in our aging population.
"Aging is typically associated with deterioration in vessel health, specifically related to function of the critical inner lining, or endothelium," said co-author Naomi Fisher, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. "Our findings demonstrate that consumption of this flavanol-rich cocoa can improve the function of blood vessels in a healthy elderly population. More research is needed to see if older adults with cardiovascular disease can also experience these improvements following consumption of this cocoa, but these initial findings certainly offer great promise. These findings have great potential to impact the health of our aging population."
Partially supported by a grant from Mars, Incorporated, this new research builds on a growing body of evidence demonstrating the potential of cocoa flavanols to improve blood flow (or the body's circulation), and perhaps in turn impact long term cardiovascular health. Working in collaboration with premier research institutions throughout the world, Mars has been a leader in unlocking the nutritional and medical potential of the cocoa bean -- with more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and 80 patents related to flavanols.
"The body of evidence on blood flow-related benefits of cocoa flavanols is impressive," said Harold Schmitz, PhD, Chief Science Officer at Mars, Incorporated. "For the past 15 years, Mars researchers and scientists around the world have been studying cocoa flavanols. This latest research provides additional support for the concept that cocoa flavanols could help reduce the risk, or even offer future treatment potential, for cardiovascular diseases including heart disease and stroke."
In an accompanying editorial, hypertension experts Claudio Ferri, Davide Grassi and Guido Grassi underscored the importance of these research findings, suggesting that the "introduction of cocoa could result in cardiovascular prevention," yet cautioned that not all chocolate offers the benefit of cocoa flavanols. The researchers stated that, "… the flavanol-rich cocoa products used in experimental studies, and even present in some commercially available flavanol-rich chocolate bars that have been tested in controlled short-lasting studies, should not be confused with a number of commercially available snacks that contains many calories but are low in natural cocoa and flavanols."
To help maximize the amount of cocoa flavanols in chocolate, scientists at Mars, Incorporated developed a patented process called Cocoapro® that helps retain consistent levels of cocoa flavanols that occur naturally in cocoa beans. Mars products that are made with the Cocoapro process include Dove® Dark Chocolate and CocoaVia®, a line of heart-healthy snacks that are guaranteed to contain at least 100 mg of cocoa flavanols per serving. Cocoapro cocoa is the most studied cocoa in the world in terms of health impact.
Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences