Mars, Incorporated is partnering with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, to conduct the largest nutritional intervention trial of the long-term heart-health benefits of cocoa flavanols. This five-year study is the result of a novel public-private collaboration among Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Mars, Incorporated and Pfizer, Inc.
The primary outcome of this partnership is the initiation of a placebo-controlled, randomized trial of 18,000 men and women to evaluate the role of cocoa flavanols in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease. The study explores the effect of a daily multivitamin as compared to placebo, in follow up to previous research conducted only in men, which suggested that multivitamins may lower the risk of cancer. This five-year study was also the first large-scale randomized trial testing multivitamins in women.
Mars, Incorporated provided financial infrastructure support together with the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of NIH, as well as the cocoa flavanol-containing capsules for use in this placebo-controlled trial. The cocoa flavanol-containing capsules used in the study were prepared specifically for research purposes and produced by Mars, Incorporated using a proprietary process to extract flavanols from cocoa beans. These capsules were made of cocoa extract and are not the same as chocolate or hot cocoa.