March 17, 2014
Medical Trial Of Cocoa Flavanols And Heart Health To Be Launched
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Scientists have created chocolate pills that are packed full of nutrients but without the sugar and fat. The research will be the first large-scale study to test cocoa flavanols, which previous studies have shown improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Participants in the study will receive either placebos or cocoa flavanol pills for four years. The flavanol capsules will have no taste, so neither the participants or researchers will know whether they are taking a placebo or flavanol pill.
"Cocoa flavanols and multivitamins are two of the most promising and exciting nutritional interventions available, and this new randomized trial is the natural next step in advancing our understanding of their potential benefits," JoAnn Manson, MD, chief of the division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a statement. "In smaller studies, cocoa flavanols have been linked to improvements in intermediate risk factors for heart disease, such as reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improvements in the body's sensitivity to insulin, and improved ability of blood vessels to dilate.”
Researchers will also be using the study to test multivitamins that could help prevent cancer. While previous studies have shown there is a benefit to these multivitamins in older healthy men, the team wants to test this on a broader population.
Howard Sesso, who will co-lead the trial alongside Manson, said the exact mechanisms behind multivitamins that leads to lower cancer risks remains unclear, but could be due to individual and joint effects of more than 20 vitamins and minerals.
"This supplement has shown favorable results in research to date, but the proposed randomized trial is needed to provide conclusive evidence,” Sesso, who is also in the division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a statement.
Women who are going to participate in the study are being pulled from a large nation-wide Women’s Health Initiative, while men are being recruited from other large population-based studies.
According to the researchers, Mars Incorporated will be one of the financial providers for the study, along with the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of National Institutes of Health.
"This collaboration represents the best of a public-private partnership in the interest of advancing science and public health. It's exciting to be at this turning point in scientific discovery where we have the potential to achieve benefits for some of our most significant health challenges today," Harold Schmitz, Ph.D, Chief Science Officer at Mars, Incorporated, said in a statement.