Sustained Benefits in Vascular Function Through Flavanol-Containing Cocoa in Medicated Diabetic Patients. A Double-Masked, Randomized, Controlled Trial

Jan Balzer, Tienush Rassaf, Christian Heiss, Petra Kleinbongard, Thomas Lauer, Marc Merx, Nicole Heussen, Heidrun B. Gross, Carl L Keen, Hagen Schroeter, Malte Kelm

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Abstract

Objectives: Our goal was to test feasibility and efficacy of a dietary intervention based on daily intake of flavanol-containing cocoa for improving vascular function of medicated diabetic patients. Background: Even in fully medicated diabetic patients, overall prognosis is unfavorable due to deteriorated cardiovascular function. Based on epidemiological data, diets rich in flavanols are associated with a reduced cardiovascular risk. Methods: In a feasibility study with 10 diabetic patients, we assessed vascular function as flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, plasma levels of flavanol metabolites, and tolerability after an acute, single-dose ingestion of cocoa, containing increasing concentrations of flavanols (75, 371, and 963 mg). In a subsequent efficacy study, changes in vascular function in 41 medicated diabetic patients were assessed after a 30-day, thrice-daily dietary intervention with either flavanol-rich cocoa (321 mg flavanols per dose) or a nutrient-matched control (25 mg flavanols per dose). Both studies were undertaken in a randomized, double-masked fashion. Primary and secondary outcome measures included changes in FMD and plasma flavanol metabolites, respectively. Results: A single ingestion of flavanol-containing cocoa was dose-dependently associated with significant acute increases in circulating flavanols and FMD (at 2 h: from 3.7 ± 0.2% to 5.5 ± 0.4%, p < 0.001). A 30-day, thrice-daily consumption of flavanol-containing cocoa increased baseline FMD by 30% (p < 0.0001), while acute increases of FMD upon ingestion of flavanol-containing cocoa continued to be manifest throughout the study. Treatment was well tolerated without evidence of tachyphylaxia. Endothelium-independent responses, blood pressure, heart rate, and glycemic control were unaffected. Conclusions: Diets rich in flavanols reverse vascular dysfunction in diabetes, highlighting therapeutic potentials in cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2149
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Volume51
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 3 2008

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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Balzer, J., Rassaf, T., Heiss, C., Kleinbongard, P., Lauer, T., Merx, M., Heussen, N., Gross, H. B., Keen, C. L., Schroeter, H., & Kelm, M. (2008). Sustained Benefits in Vascular Function Through Flavanol-Containing Cocoa in Medicated Diabetic Patients. A Double-Masked, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 51(22), 2141-2149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2008.01.059