Dark Chocolate to prevent Hypertension?
As you probably know is Dr Shock completely biased when writing about chocolate especially dark chocolate. He mostly writes about the research with positive results of chocolate on cardiovascular diseases. A recent review included 5 studies of adequate quality for inclusion in a recent meta analysis as well as 8 other peer reviewed studies for the effect of cocoa on blood pressure.
In these 13 reports dark chocolate lowered blood pressure in 6 of the 7 open label studies but diastolic blood pressure only in 1 of 6 double blind studies and as you know double blind studies are the one’s with the most scientific conclusions. The inconclusive results of all these 13 studies is suggested to be caused by methodological factors of these studies.
the published studies on chocolate and blood pressure include a relatively small number of subjects, and results are conflicting. In addition, because of secrecy surrounding the production of chocolate and the unique sociocultural context of this popular food, research on efficacy and effectiveness is complex.
The lowering of blood pressure mainly appeared in the open label studies, suggesting a placebo effect. Even the double blind studies could have suffered from unblinding due to the bitter taste and physiological effects of flavanoids in chocolate. Different ways of blood pressure measuring methods were used. Especially the double blind studies provided limited detail or used devices with suboptimal accuracy.
Treatment for high blood pressure is not very hard to find, but when people decide to ignore, thinking it will go away by itself, that’s when it starts to affect the body, especially your blood vessels. Blood vessels damaged by high blood pressure can narrow, rupture or leak. High blood pressure can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke. Repairing blood vessels is very a difficult process, but that’s why a Laser Varicose Vein Procedure is usually recommended when anything like this happens.
Two brands of chocolate were used which seem to differ in chemical and biological properties. Moreover, variations in cocoa bean processing can dramatically alter chemical composition of the final product. Fermentation, roasting, and alkali treatment, while improving flavor, reduce flavanol content. These two brands also purchase cocoa beans from several countries and they blend beans for their products.
So before we can start using dark chocolate as a lifestyle intervention for hypertension and prehypertension some question have to be resolved first. Is it an effect of brand, is their a dose and time dependent effect, what’s the optimal blood pressure measure method?
Until then, take care with dark chocolate
Egan, B., Laken, M., Donovan, J., & Woolson, R. (2010). Does Dark Chocolate Have a Role in the Prevention and Management of Hypertension?: Commentary on the Evidence Hypertension, 55 (6), 1289-1295 DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.151522
Advanced Mediterranean Diet Blog » Blog Archive » Dark Chocolate to Treat High Blood Pressure: Don’t Count On It
June 25, 2010 @ 4:54 pm
[…] Dr. Shock today blogs about dark chocolate as a treatment for high blood pressure. Doesn’t look too promising. Steve Parker, M.D. […]
June 27, 2010 @ 9:40 am
Please stay biased Shock. I love your chocalate research.
How about reading chocalate story’s? Does that lower your blood pressure? 😉
warm greetings Crypto
June 27, 2010 @ 4:58 pm
That picture was certainly good for my heart LOL, take care Dr shock
June 28, 2010 @ 3:10 am
I don’t think you are biased Dr Shock, but then i do eat 50gm daily of dark vegan chocolate – i think it’s just a matter of time till science catches up with our own insightful experiences – certainly i can attest to favourable mood and short-term brain improvements, and i know that is real, so will continue to partake just bearing in mind cocoa is acid-forming (but then so is meat and i don’t eat that) and also contains caffeine, and somedays a bit of that is beneficial, and other days is best to avoid – suspect the amounts of choccie eten daily probably doesn’t have huge therapeutic effects with regard to hypertension etc, but eatind dark chocolate is certainly preferable to eating dairy chocolate with it’s animal fat and sugar contributing to clotted arteries and diabetes also associated with heart problems – until they say dark chocolate causes premature death i am sticking with it!
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November 30, 2010 @ 6:14 am
Yes, Dark Chocolate to prevent Hypertension. Eating dark chocolate not only relaxes but also makes the blood vessels more flexible. Eating a delicious piece of chocolate could possibly reduce stress levels.