Cocoa Beneficial for Medicated Diabetic Patients

Chocolate rich in flavanols reverses vascular dysfunction in diabetes type 2 diabetic patients between ages 50 and 80 years, highlighting therapeutic potentials in cardiovascular disease. Moreover, flavanol-containing chocolate was well tolerated.

The chocolate condition was a cocoa drink with 321 mg of flavanols thrice daily for 30 days, not your average candy bar. The control condition only contained 25 mg flavanols. In this research CocoaPro cocoa powder made by Mars was used.

How does it work?

We observed the absorption of flavanols in diabetic patients, accompanied by increases in plasma flavanol metabolites, leading to a dose-dependent improvement of endothelial function, corroborating our findings from previous studies in nondiabetic populations

Impaired endothelial function is a key factor for the development of atherosclerosis and its complications in diabetic patients. That’s why this is important.

This could be an alternative approach to the prevention of atherosclerosis in this population which is highly needed.

This was a study well done. First the researchers conducted a feasibility study on 10 patients to determine the appropriate dosing, assess safety and tolerability, and measure the effect size of the intervention in order to calculate the appropriate sample size of the subsequent efficacy study.

The efficacy study was undertaken using a randomized, doublemasked, parallel-group design and included 44 patients randomly
allocated to a treatment group (321 mg of flavanols per dose; 3 doses per day) or a control group (25 mg of flavanols per dose; 3 doses per day). Each group ingested a single dose of either treatment or control 3 times a day over a period of 30 days. The authors assessed the acute effects, 2 h after ingestion of the control or the cocoa drink, and the long-term effects, on days 8 and 30.

The accompanying editorial concludes:

These findings expand previous observations to patients with type 2 diabetes and represent a further step in our understanding of the vascular effects of flavanol-rich cocoa.
However, although endothelial function has been shown to predict future cardiovascular events (20), randomized, large scale clinical trials assessing relevant clinical outcomes are necessary before any recommendations are made regarding dietary supplementation with flavanol-rich cocoa.

Related post on this blog: Chocolate and Diabetes, new research
BALZER, J., RASSAF, T., HEISS, C., KLEINBONGARD, P., LAUER, T., MERX, M., HEUSSEN, N., GROSS, H., KEEN, C., SCHROETER, H. (2008). Sustained Benefits in Vascular Function Through Flavanol-Containing Cocoa in Medicated Diabetic PatientsA Double-Masked, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 51(22), 2141-2149. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2008.01.059

CAMPIA, U., PANZA, J. (2008). Flavanol-Rich CocoaA Promising New Dietary Intervention to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Type 2 Diabetes?⁎. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 51(22), 2150-2152. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2008.02.058