Flavonoid-rich dark chocolate improves endothelial function and increases plasma epicatechin concentrations in healthy adults
Engler MB, Engler MM, Chen CY, Malloy MJ,
Browne A, Chiu EY, Kwak HK, Milbury P,
Paul SM, Blumberg J, Mietus-Snyder ML.
Laboratory of Cardiovascular Physiology,
Department of Physiological Nursing,
School of Nursing,
University of Claifornia,
San Francisco, 94143-0610, USA.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):197-204


BACKGROUND: Dark chocolate derived from the plant (Theobroma cacao) is a rich source of flavonoids. Cardioprotective effects including antioxidant properties, inhibition of platelet activity, and activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase have been ascribed to the cocoa flavonoids. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate on endothelial function, measures of oxidative stress, blood lipids, and blood pressure in healthy adult subjects. DESIGN: The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design conducted over a 2 week period in 21 healthy adult subjects. Subjects were randomly assigned to daily intake of high-flavonoid (213 mg procyanidins, 46 mg epicatechin) or low-flavonoid dark chocolate bars (46 g, 1.6 oz). RESULTS: High-flavonoid chocolate consumption improved endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery (mean change = 1.3 +/- 0.7%) as compared to low-flavonoid chocolate consumption (mean change = -0.96 +/- 0.5%) (p = 0.024). No significant differences were noted in the resistance to LDL oxidation, total antioxidant capacity, 8-isoprostanes, blood pressure, lipid parameters, body weight or body mass index (BMI) between the two groups. Plasma epicatechin concentrations were markedly increased at 2 weeks in the high-flavonoid group (204.4 +/- 18.5 nmol/L, p < or = 0.001) but not in the low-flavonoid group (17.5 +/- 9 nmol/L, p = 0.99). CONCLUSION: Flavonoid-rich dark chocolate improves endothelial function and is associated with an increase in plasma epicatechin concentrations in healthy adults. No changes in oxidative stress measures, lipid profiles, blood pressure, body weight or BMI were seen.

Food of the gods?
Chocolate hotlinks
PEA and dopamine
Chocolate thoughts
Stoned chocaholics?
PEA and antidepressants


and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family