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Dietary Cocoa Flavanols Improve Vascular And Blood Pressure Measures For Coronary Artery Disease Patients
Date:7/6/2010

ns makes this a “crossover” study since participants crossed over from one intervention to the other.

The study was randomized, controlled and “masked” as well, meaning both the doctors and patients were prevented from knowing which variation of the cocoa drink a patient was drinking at a given time until after the study was completed. The patients continued taking all regular medications for their underlying heart disease during the study period, including statin medications for lowering the cholesterol levels to recommended goals.

Researchers calculated the outcome of the cocoa intervention using blood pressure readings, ultrasound to measure dilation of the brachial artery, and cell assays to calculate the number and behavior of circulating angiogenic cells. The tests showed a 47 percent improvement in vasodilation, or widening rather than constriction, of the brachial artery in the high-flavanol time period compared to the low-flavanol period. In addition, circulating angiogenic cells increased 2.2-fold and systolic blood pressure decreased among the high-flavanol versus low-flavanol periods.

“This is exciting data,” Yeghiazarians added. “Our findings demonstrate that a further increase in endothelial function and improvement in blood pressure can be achieved by complementing standard treatment with a flavanol-rich diet. The 80 million Americans impacted by heart disease may be glad to hear this.” Notably, the therapy did not influence fasting glucose levels of study participants. (Fasting glucose is the standard for measuring an individual’s blood sugar level to diagnose conditions such as diabetes and heart disease).

The study was funded by Mars, Inc., and the American Heart Association.

Corresponding author was Christian Heiss, MD, of UCSF’s Division of Cardiology with additional affiliations with the Division of Cardiology, Vascular Medicine and Pu
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