Biomarker-estimated flavan-3-ol intake is associated with lower blood pressure in cross-sectional analysis in EPIC Norfolk
Flavan-3-ols are a group of bioactive compounds that have been shown to improve vascular function in intervention studies. They are therefore of great interest for the development of dietary recommendation for the prevention of cardio-vascular diseases. However, there are currently no reliable data from observational studies, as the high variability in the flavan-3-ol content of food makes it difficult to estimate actual intake without nutritional biomarkers. In this study, we investigated cross-sectional associations between biomarker-estimated flavan-3-ol intake and blood pressure and other CVD risk markers, as well as longitudinal associations with CVD risk in 25,618 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Norfolk cohort. High flavan-3-ol intake, achievable as part of an habitual diet, was associated with a significantly lower systolic blood pressure (− 1.9 (− 2.7; − 1.1) mmHg in men and − 2.5 (− 3.3; − 1.8) mmHg in women; lowest vs highest decile of biomarker), comparable to adherence to a Mediterranean Diet or moderate salt reduction. Subgroup analyses showed that hypertensive participants had stronger inverse association between flavan-3-ol biomarker and systolic blood pressure when compared to normotensive participants. Flavanol intake could therefore have a role in the maintenance of cardiovascular health on a population scale.