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Dietary flavanols and procyanidin oligomers from cocoa (Theobroma cacao) inhibit platelet function.

Date Published: 
Sunday, June 1, 2003

Am J Clin Nutr 2003, 77 (6), 1466-73.

Authors: 
​Murphy, K. J.; Chronopoulos, A. K.; Singh, I.; Francis, M. A.; Moriarty, H.; Pike, M. J.; Turner, A. H.; Mann, N. J.; Sinclair, A. J.
Brief: 

BACKGROUND:
Flavonoids may be partly responsible for some health benefits, including antiinflammatory action and a decreased tendency for the blood to clot. An acute dose of flavanols and oligomeric procyanidins from cocoa powder inhibits platelet activation and function over 6 h in humans.

OBJECTIVE:
This study sought to evaluate whether 28 d of supplementation with cocoa flavanols and relatedprocyanidin oligomers would modulate human platelet reactivity and primary hemostasis and reduce oxidative markers in vivo.

DESIGN:
Thirty-two healthy subjects were assigned to consume active (234 mg cocoa flavanols and procyanidins/d) or placebo (< or = 6 mg cocoa flavanols and procyanidins/d) tablets in a blinded parallel-designed study. Platelet function was determined by measuring platelet aggregation, ATP release, and expression of activation-dependent platelet antigens by using flow cytometry. Plasma was analyzed for oxidation markers and antioxidant status.

RESULTS:
Plasma concentrations of epicatechin and catechin in the active group increased by 81% and 28%, respectively, during the intervention period. The active group had significantly lower P selectin expression and significantly lower ADP-induced aggregation and collagen-induced aggregation than did the placebo group. Plasma ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly higher in the active than in the placebo group (P < 0.05), whereas plasma oxidation markers and antioxidant status did not change in either group.

CONCLUSIONS:
Cocoa flavanol and procyanidin supplementation for 28 d significantly increased plasma epicatechin and catechin concentrations and significantly decreased platelet function. These data support the results of acute studies that used higher doses of cocoa flavanols and procyanidins.