Research On Cocoa Flavanols Identified As One Of The Top Cardiovascular Studies Of 2005

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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Journal of the American College of Cardiology Includes Cocoa Study in its Highlights of the Year

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (Jan. 3, 2006) – A study that suggests cocoa flavanols could potentially improve blood vessel health was one the major advancements in cardiovascular research in 2005, according to a review of the “Highlights of the Year” published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Conducted by researchers in Germany and at the University of California, Davis, the study found that a flavanol-rich cocoa drink helped improve the ability of blood vessels to expand and contract in response to the body’s needs. The study was supported by Mars, Incorporated, the global leader in cocoa science that has collaborated on research on cocoa and health for more than 15 years.

“We believe one exciting outcome of this study is the demonstration that flavanol-rich cocoa can significantly improve an important marker of cardiovascular health in a population with an established cardiovascular risk factor,” said co-author Malte Kelm, M.D. “This raises the possibility that a potential new agent for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease may emerge from additional research.”

The researchers studied smokers because their blood vessels tend to respond poorly to changes in blood flow – possibly related to impairments in how nitric oxide sends signals to the endothelium or the inner lining of blood vessels. This impaired endothelial function is a marker for increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Smokers were used as a model for decreased vascular function, but the researchers believe the beneficial effect would likely be seen in non-smokers as well.

“We are extremely pleased to have this study recognized as one of the top cardiovascular studies by JACC for its potential to impact cardiovascular health,” said Harold Schmitz, Mars Chief Science Officer. “We’ve dedicated the last 15 years to understanding the unique public health benefits these special cocoa compounds hold.”

Mars provided the flavanol-rich cocoa drink used in the study. It was specially processed to retain significantly higher levels of flavanols than are typically found in commercially-available cocoa drinks. Mars has a patented technology called Cocoapro® that helps retain the naturally occurring flavanols in the cocoa bean, and is used in the new healthy snack, CocoaVia™ and Dove® Dark Chocolate. Traditional cocoa processing often destroys many of these heart-healthy compounds.

Scientists have been encouraged by the growing number of independent studies that indicate cocoa flavanols may help influence factors associated with clotting and promote a healthy blood flow. Other studies suggest that cocoa flavanols can improve the health of blood vessels and reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that may lead to cardiovascular problems like plaque formation and clogged arteries.

“It is clear that cocoa flavanols represent an intriguing new area of research with significant implications for nutrition and cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Carl L. Keen, a professor of nutrition and internal medicine at the University of California-Davis, who has led multiple studies on the health benefits of cocoa flavanols.

DeMaria AN et al. Highlights of the Year in JACC 2005. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2006; 47(1):184-202.

Heiss C et al. Acute consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa and the reversal of endothelial dysfunction in smokers. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2005;46(7):1276-1283.

About Mars Center For Cocoa Health Science

For more than 20 years, and based on collaborating with a multidisciplinary group of international experts, Mars, Incorporated has been conducting comprehensive and innovative research with a network of scientific collaborators around the world to advance the understanding of cocoa flavanols and their health benefits for the purpose of improving human health. Building on decades of research in cocoa flavanols, the Mars Center for Cocoa Health Science (MCCHS) was formally established in 2012 as a Center of Excellence to pioneer, capture and share the latest scientific research in the field. MCCHS provides access to more than 20 years of gold standard research, over 140 published peer-reviewed scientific papers, videos, slides and other information that Mars, Incorporated and its collaborators have developed to advance cocoa flavanol understanding. For more information, please visit Follow us:

About Mars, Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
For more information, please visit Follow us:,,,


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