Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Dark chocolate v HBP.

In an attempt to sort conflicting results about how cocoa works re blood pressure, Dr Karin Ried did a meta-analysis of studies between 1985 and 2009. 15 studies lasted long enough (14 days or longer) and also published enough data to be compared.

One difficulty came from the from the amount of active ingredient (30 to 1,000 mg/day) and what the researchers called this ingredient – polyphenol, flavanol, proanthocyanidin, epicatechin and catechin.

However, the mechanism is consistent. The flavanols increase the production of nitrous oxide in blood vessels, causing them to dilate and lowering blood pressure.

Ried found that in people with blood pressure in normal range (140mm systolic or 80mm diastolic) there was no significant reduction.

But in those with higher blood pressure, the reduction was significant. The mean reduction was 5mm systolic (2.7mm diastolic). The systolic reduction equates to a cut of 20% in risk of a cardiovascular event, and is comparable to the reduction achieved by 30 mins/day of moderate physical activity.

While benefits appeared in the short term, Ried and team questioned the wisdom of dark chocolate or cocoa as a long term method of reducing high blood pressure.

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June 29, 2010 - Posted by | Chocolate, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Exercise, Flavanols, High blood pressure, Karin Ried

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