A study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has some exciting news for people with type 2 diabetes who love cocoa: A small test group of type 2s who drank cocoa enhanced with extra flavonols enjoyed an up to 30 percent improvement in their blood vessel health and function after one month.
Previous laboratory research has found that flavonols (compounds that occur naturally in cocoa) have potentially beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. The Journal study, conducted by an international team of scientists, is the first to directly examine the effects on flavonols on a controlled group of patients.
Researchers focused on type 2s because of their susceptibility to impaired cardiovascular function, one of the side effects of diabetes. In the first part of a two-part study, they had type 2s consume cocoa that contained anywhere from 75 mg to 963 mg of flavonols per serving.
The object was to establish whether flavonols had a discernible effect on the ability of the subjects’ blood vessels to relax—a process called “flow mediated dilation” (FMD) that is a standard measure of vessel health.
The researchers found that there was a direct correlation between the amount of flavonols consumed and an immediate improvement in FMD.
The next step was to divide the type 2 subjects into two groups that each drank cocoa three times a day over a 30-day period. The control group drank cocoa with 25 mg of flavonols per serving while the treatment group drank cocoa with 321 mg of flavonols per serving.
Over the 30-day period, researchers noted that the treatment group experienced an improvement in its FMDs of up to 30 percent.
Scientists say the study’s favorable results will lead to wider tests of the use of flavonols in therapies designed to treat cardiovascular ailments.
The study used a flavonol-containing cocoa drink called Cocoapro®, a proprietary beverage developed by Mars, Inc.
Editor’s note: Mars Inc., in McLean, Virginia supported this study so obviously they had a vested interest in the outcome…Still, this sounds like one of the more pleasant clinical trials to participate in. For more information on joining clinical trials, read our article Looking to Participate in a Clinical Trial?