Cocoa may help to increase endothelial progenitor cells. - GreenMedInfo Summary
[Cacoa and dark chocolate in cardiovascular prevention?].
Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2011 Dec ;136(51-52):2657-63. Epub 2011 Dec 14. PMID: 22169919
G G Belz
It has been shown that the consumption of cocoa has a positive influence on a number of cardiovascular surrogate parameters such as arterial vasodilatation and a moderate decrease in blood pressure in humans. In the blood, a decrease in platelet aggregation and an increase in angiogenetic progenitor cells was noted. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory effects, an amelioration of the lipid profile and glucose metabolism was described. An increase of endothelial NO production following the ingestion of the antioxidant cocoa flavanols catechin and epicatechin seems to be the leading mechanism causing these effects. In animal studies of myocardial reperfusion, a decrease in infarct size was noted. In several prospective cohort studies from Europe and the United States, a 50 % reduction of mortality mostly due to a reduction of myocardial infarction was published. Consumption up to about 25 g daily of a flavanol rich dark chocolate (ca. 85 % cocoa content) can be recommended for cardiovascular prevention. In this moderate dosage, the potentially harmful effects due to weight gain and cadmium intake will be minimal. However, controlled randomized trials with well defined clinical endpoints are needed to prove the positive effects described so far. At this point, in time based on the information described in this article, a moderate consumption of flavanol rich cocoa products seems to be effective in the prevention of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction.