Dose-related effects of flavanol-rich cocoa on blood pressure.
Consumption of flavanol-containing cocoa products has been shown to lower blood pressure (BP), but the minimum dose required to reduce BP is not known. This study aimed to examine the effect of three different doses of cocoa flavanols (CF) on 24-h mean arterial BP. Twenty four hour ambulatory BP (24-ABP) monitoring was performed in 32 men and 20 postmenopausal women with untreated mild hypertension (seated clinic BP >130/85 and <160/100 mm Hg). Participants were randomized and instructed to consume daily a reconstituted cocoa beverage containing 33, 372, 712 or 1052 mg day(-1) of CF for 6 weeks in a double-blind, parallel comparison. Seated clinic BP and 24-h ABP were measured at 0, 3 and 6 weeks. Seated clinic BP did not change during the study period. There were significant reductions in 24-h systolic (5.3+/-5.1 mm Hg; P=0.001), diastolic (3+/-3.2 mm Hg; P=0.002) and mean arterial BP (3.8+/-3.2 mm Hg; P=0.0004) at the 1052 mg day(-1) CF only. No reduction in BP was seen at any other dose. No evidence of dose-response was seen in this experiment. The highest dose of 1052 mg CF per day was found to significantly lower BP. These results support previous evidence for CF to lower BP, however more research is needed to establish the most effective dose and food matrix.
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