Studies related to LDL-C and Cocoa Extract

Dark Chocolate Effect On Platelet Activity, C-reactive Protein And Lipid Profile: A Pilot Study

Effect Decrease
Trial Design Cohort
Trial Length 1-7 Days
Number of Subjects 28
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 18-29
Notes for this study:
700mg of cocoa flavonoids daily for one week in otherwise healthy subjects appeared to have mild beneficial effects on serum lipoproteins (LDL and HDL) but primarily reduced the aggregatory potential of platelets when they were stimulated outside the body.

High sensitivity C-reactive protein decreased, suggesting an antiinflammatory property; this effect was only noted in women. No placebo control was used in this study.

Effect Of Cocoa Flavanols And Exercise On Cardiometabolic Risk Factors In Overweight And Obese Subjects

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-6 months
Number of Subjects 49
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 18-29, 30-44, 45-64
Body Types Obese, Overweight
Notes for this study:
A beverage containing cocoa flavanols (451mg) versus control beverage (18mg) in overweight and obese sedentary subjects for 12 weeks alongside a modest exercise program (given to both groups) or without exercises noted that there were changes in blood flow in both high flavanol groups and no alterations in any lipid biomarker in any group.

During exercise, fat oxidation rates were not different between cocoa conditions and overall fat mass was not affected. There appeared to be a decrease in diastolic blood pressure, but not systolic, without any statistically significant changes in heart rate (although a trend to reduce was noted).

A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Randomized Trial Of The Effects Of Dark Chocolate And Cocoa On Variables Associated With Neuropsychological Functioning And Cardiovascular Health: Clinical Findings From A Sample Of Healthy, Cognitively Intact Older Adults

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-6 months
Number of Subjects 90
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 45-64, 65+
Body Types Overweight
Notes for this study:
The provision of two chocolate products (37g dark chocolate and an 8 oz drink) for six weeks in older adults failed to significantly modify any measured cognitive parameter relative to placebo in otherwise healthy older adults with no clinical signs of dementia. Most cognitive parameters being related to memory formation and attention, with mood being self-reported.

There was an increase in pulse rate seen with cocoa products relative to control.

Cocoa Consumption For 2 Wk Enhances Insulin-mediated Vasodilatation Without Improving Blood Pressure Or Insulin Resistance In Essential Hypertension

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-2 Weeks
Number of Subjects 20
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 45-64
Body Types Obese
Notes for this study:
Twice daily consumption of a cocoa beverage containing 900mg polyphenols (174mg (-)-epicatechin) overall, for two weeks, failed to improve insulin sensitivity in hypertensives. While blood pressure and flow were also unaffected, there appeared to be an increase in insulin-mediated arterial diameter associated with cocoa.

Cocoa Reduces Blood Pressure And Insulin Resistance And Improves Endothelium-dependent Vasodilation In Hypertensives

Effect Decrease
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-2 Weeks
Number of Subjects 20
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 45-64
Body Types Obese
Notes for this study:
In subjects with essential hypertension (grade I, never treated) given dark chocolate at 100 grams a day (87mg flavanols) for 15 days, ingestion of the dark chocolate relative to white chocolate resulted in a decrease in blood pressure and increase in blood flow with minor benefits to insulin sensitivity (in response to an oral glucose tolerance test) and total and LDL cholesterol.

hsCRP and ICAM-1 unaffected in both normotensives (which did not experience the same myriad of benefits as the hypertensive subjects) and in the hypertensive subjects.

Effects Of Cocoa Products/dark Chocolate On Serum Lipids: A Meta-analysis

Effect Decrease
Trial Design Meta analysis
Trial Length n/a
Number of Subjects 320
Gender Both Genders
Notes for this study:
A meta-analysis of 10 studies (320 subjects) found that there appeared to be a general reduction in LDL cholesterol across studies, but the studies varied significantly based on the overall dose of cocoa flavanol ingestion and duration of study. There were no noted reductions in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and no increase in HDL cholesterol.

Regular Consumption Of A Flavanol-rich Chocolate Can Improve Oxidant Stress In Young Soccer Players

Effect Decrease
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-7 Days
Number of Subjects 28
Gender Male
Age Range 18-29
Body Types Trained, Average
Notes for this study:
One week consumption of cocoa flavanols (168mg) via 105g chocolate in otherwise healthy young soccer players was able to improve oxidative status relative to a low flavanol control, but their performance (Assessed by self-report) did not appear to be significantly improved.

Despite the decrease in cholesterol, serum vitamin E was unchanged causing an increase in the vitamin E/cholesterol ratio. Other vitamin biomarkers such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and CoQ10 were unaffected.

Flavonoid-rich Dark Chocolate Improves Endothelial Function And Increases Plasma Epicatechin Concentrations In Healthy Adults

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-2 Weeks
Number of Subjects 21
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 18-29, 30-44
Body Types Average
Notes for this study:
Consumption of just under 50 grams of flavanol rich dark chocolate (conferring approximately 200mg procyanidins and 50mg epicatechin) daily for two weeks in otherwise healthy human subjects was able to improve blood flow to a small degree relative to placebo (low flavanol chocolate group) despite not having any influence on lipid, inflammatory, or oxidative parameters.

Effects Of Dark Chocolate In A Population Of Normal Weight Obese Women: A Pilot Study

Effect None
Trial Design Cohort
Trial Length 1-7 Days
Number of Subjects 15
Gender Female
Age Range 30-44
Body Types Overweight
Notes for this study:
In a case control (not placebo) study of overweight women given 100g of 70% cocoa chocolate for one week noted minor changes in waist circumference and improvements in HDL cholesterol, with a fairly large decrease in IL-1Ra (an IL-1 antagonist), but no other major changes.

Blood Pressure Is Reduced And Insulin Sensitivity Increased In Glucose-intolerant, Hypertensive Subjects After 15 Days Of Consuming High-polyphenol Dark Chocolate

Effect Decrease
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-2 Weeks
Number of Subjects 19
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 30-44, 45-64
Body Types Overweight
Notes for this study:
In essential hypertensives with impaired glucose tolerance given 50g of dark chocolate (1009mg phenols, 111mg epicatechin) twice a day for 15 days improved blood pressure (systolic, diastolic, and ambulatory) and improved insulin sensitivity as assessed by QUICKI and HOMA-IR; an improvement in beta-cell function appeared to also exist alongside modest improvements in cholesterol.

Blood flow (FMD) improved, but other serum parameters related to inflammation and methylation did not.
Funding issues for this study:
Napoleone Neri, Chairman, Sugar Company donated the chocolate bars, but had no part in funding; funding by USDA

Effects Of Cocoa Powder And Dark Chocolate On LDL Oxidative Susceptibility And Prostaglandin Concentrations In Humans

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-7 Days
Number of Subjects 23
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 18-29, 30-44, 45-64
Notes for this study:
A standard american diet containing 466mg cocoa procyanidins and 11mg of catechins (catechin plus epicatechin) appeared to increase the time required for LDL to oxidize by 8%, suggesting an antioxidant effect on lipoproteins. Rate of oxidation and conjugated diene formation failed to reach statistical significance.

Consumption Of High-polyphenol Dark Chocolate Improves Endothelial Function In Individuals With Stage 1 Hypertension And Excess Body Weight

Effect None
Trial Design Cohort
Trial Length 2-4 Weeks
Number of Subjects 20
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 18-29, 30-44, 45-64
Body Types Obese, Overweight
Notes for this study:
In overweight or obese individuals given 50g of 70% dark chocolate daily for four weeks, supplementation appeared to improve blood flow as assessed by the reactive hyperemia index (RIH) without affecting other parameters of glucose or lipid metabolism, inflammation, or weight.

No placebo control was used in this four week study.

Short-term Administration Of Dark Chocolate Is Followed By A Significant Increase In Insulin Sensitivity And A Decrease In Blood Pressure In Healthy Persons

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 1-2 Weeks
Number of Subjects 15
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 18-29, 30-44
Body Types Average
Notes for this study:
15 days of ingesting 100 grams of dark chocolate (500mg total phenolic compounds) once daily, relative to white chocolate, significantly increased insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal in response to an oral glucose tolerance test. Benefits measured on HOMA and QUICKI, and the ISI (insulin sensitivity index) average value appeared to have doubled with dark chocolate.

Effects Of Dark Chocolate And Cocoa Consumption On Endothelial Function And Arterial Stiffness In Overweight Adults

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 2-4 Weeks
Number of Subjects 30
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 30-44
Body Types Overweight
Notes for this study:
The addition of 37g of dark chocolate with a cocoa beverage (814mg of total flavanols) daily for four weeks, relative to visually similar chocolate products devoid of flavanols, was able to increase basal diameter and peak diameter of the artery by 6% and increase blood flow 22% relative to the no flavanol control.

Basal blood pressure was unchanged in these subjects, although an acute increase of 4mmHg was noted acutely after consumption that seemed to normalize afterwards.

An improvement in arterial stiffness was noted, but only in the women tested, and an increase of fasting insulin and insulin resistance was observed in the placebo condition but not in the group with high flavanol cocoa.

Sustained Benefits In Vascular Function Through Flavanol-containing Cocoa In Medicated Diabetic Patients A Double-masked, Randomized, Controlled Trial

Effect None
Trial Design Double blind
Trial Length 2-4 Weeks
Number of Subjects 41
Gender Both Genders
Age Range 45-64
Body Types Obese
Notes for this study:
In type II diabetics on medication, supplementation of dark chocolate (75, 371, or 963mg of flavanols; highest dose having 203mg epicatechin) was able to acutely increased blood flow in a dose-dependent manner. There were no changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or glycemic control. HbA1c did decrease, but evenly so in both groups.

30 days of ingestion at the highest dose (963mg, three doses of 321mg) improved blood flow 30% under basal conditions, while each dose acutely improved blood flow slightly more (but then normalized to 30% during the supplementation period).