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New Study Suggests Special Cocoa may Lead to Sustained Improvement in Blood Vessel Function

nts. Each higher level also significantly increased endothelial function, with the highest level of 918 mg appearing to reverse impairments in blood vessel function to such an extent that it was restored to a performance level expected in a person with no known cardiovascular risk factors.

Contrary to statements often made in the popular media, the effect of this flavanol-rich cocoa on blood vessel function appears to be independent of any changes in established markers of oxidative stress or damage, suggesting that the potential blood vessel benefits of this cocoa are likely not attributable to a general "antioxidant" effect of cocoa flavanols.

In the seven-day feeding study designed to evaluate sustained benefits, the participants drank three doses of the cocoa drink each day for a total of 918 mg of flavanols daily. Researchers tested blood vessel function daily before the first morning dose of flavanols and two hours after the first dose. They found daily improvements in blood flow, with near reversal of impairment after consumption of the drink containing 306 mg of cocoa flavanols on day seven.

However, a week after the study ended and consumption of this cocoa stopped, endothelial function had returned to its lower level measured at the beginning of the study.

"This new research is the first to provide clear evidence suggesting that daily intake of this flavanol-rich cocoa could have a sustained benefit for circulatory health. This study also suggests that the effects of this flavanol-rich cocoa on blood vessels is independent of generalized 'antioxidant' actions often incorrectly reported in the media," said Harold Schmitz, PhD, Chief Science Officer at Mars, Incorporated, which has conducted and supported the vast majority of the research conducted on flavanol-rich cocoa reported in peer-reviewed scientific literature. "This study should give pause to those claiming that flavanols in cocoa act as antioxidants when desc
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