|Dark Chocolate Flavonoids Seen as Good Source for Daily Heart Protection|
|Living - Health & Fitness|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Monday, 04 June 2012 06:00|
Melbourne, Vic, Australia. Daily consumption of dark chocolate over 10 years can can reduce cardiovascular events in people with metabolic syndrome, says a new study.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Dark chocolate (containing at least 60% cocoa solids) is rich in flavonoids known to have heart protecting effects but this has only been examined in short term studies.
What is already known on this topic
Dark chocolate has antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, and metabolic effects.
Short term trials have shown that dark chocolate consumption can potentially reduce systolic blood pressure by 5 mm Hg (interquartile range 2-8 mm Hg) and total cholesterol concentration by 0.21 mmol/L (0.05-0.36 mmol/L).
What this study adds
A modelling analysis predicted that dark chocolate consumption in populations at high risk of cardiovascular disease could potentially avert cardiovascular events over the long term owing to its antihypertensive and metabolic effects.
The model also suggested that $A40 (£25; €31; $US42) could be cost effectively spent per person per year on prevention strategies using dark chocolate.
This best case analysis suggests that dark chocolate/cocoa consumption with a polyphenol content of 500-1000 mg would be an effective and cost effective primary prevention strategy for those with multiple cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Adapted from the research articlePeople with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of factors that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, are at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. So a team of researchers at Monash University used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people that meet this risk profile. The findings appear in the journal BMJ.
All of the study participants had high blood pressure and met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, but had no history of heart disease or diabetes, and were not on blood pressure lowering therapy.
The authors stress that only non-fatal stroke and non-fatal heart attack were assessed in their analysis, and that the potential effects on other cardiovascular events, such as heart failure, are yet to be tested.
Also important, they say, is that these protective effects have only been shown for dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa), rather than for milk or white chocolate, probably due to the higher levels of flavonoids found in dark chocolate.
Nevertheless, they conclude that the blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effects of plain dark chocolate "could represent an effective and cost effective strategy for people with metabolic syndrome (and no diabetes)."
FundingThis research was supported by an Australian Research Council linkage grant with Sanofi-Aventis Australia.
ParticipationThe Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study steering committee for provided data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study.
CitationThe effectiveness and cost effectiveness of dark chocolate consumption as prevention therapy in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease: best case scenario analysis using a Markov model. Ella Zomer, Alice Owen, Dianna J Magliano, Danny Liew, Christopher M Reid. BMJ 2012; 344(3): e3657. doi:10.1136/bmj.e3657
Objective. To model the long term effectiveness and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in a population with metabolic syndrome at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Design. Best case scenario analysis using a Markov model.
Setting. Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study.
Participants. 2013 people with hypertension who met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, with no history of cardiovascular disease and not receiving antihypertensive therapy.
Main outcome measures. Treatment effects associated with dark chocolate consumption derived from published meta-analyses were used to determine the absolute number of cardiovascular events with and without treatment. Costs associated with cardiovascular events and treatments were applied to determine the potential amount of funding required for dark chocolate therapy to be considered cost effective.
Results. Daily consumption of dark chocolate (polyphenol content equivalent to 100 g of dark chocolate) can reduce cardiovascular events by 85 (95% confidence interval 60 to 105) per 10,000 population treated over 10 years. $A40 (£25; €31; $US42) could be cost effectively spent per person per year on prevention strategies using dark chocolate. These results assume 100% compliance and represent a best case scenario.
Conclusions. The blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effects of dark chocolate consumption are beneficial in the prevention of cardiovascular events in a population with metabolic syndrome. Daily dark chocolate consumption could be an effective cardiovascular preventive strategy in this population.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 03 June 2012 18:21|