Send to

Choose Destination
J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1671-6.

Blood pressure is reduced and insulin sensitivity increased in glucose-intolerant, hypertensive subjects after 15 days of consuming high-polyphenol dark chocolate.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L'Aquila, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.


Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability, protect vascular endothelium, and decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. We sought to test the effect of flavanol-rich dark chocolate (FRDC) on endothelial function, insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, and blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). After a run-in phase, 19 hypertensives with IGT (11 males, 8 females; 44.8 +/- 8.0 y) were randomized to receive isocalorically either FRDC or flavanol-free white chocolate (FFWC) at 100 g/d for 15 d. After a wash-out period, patients were switched to the other treatment. Clinical and 24-h ambulatory BP was determined by sphygmometry and oscillometry, respectively, flow-mediated dilation (FMD), oral glucose tolerance test, serum cholesterol and C-reactive protein, and plasma homocysteine were evaluated after each treatment phase. FRDC but not FFWC ingestion decreased insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance; P < 0.0001) and increased insulin sensitivity (quantitative insulin sensitivity check index, insulin sensitivity index (ISI), ISI(0); P < 0.05) and beta-cell function (corrected insulin response CIR(120); P = 0.035). Systolic (S) and diastolic (D) BP decreased (P < 0.0001) after FRDC (SBP, -3.82 +/- 2.40 mm Hg; DBP, -3.92 +/- 1.98 mm Hg; 24-h SBP, -4.52 +/- 3.94 mm Hg; 24-h DBP, -4.17 +/- 3.29 mm Hg) but not after FFWC. Further, FRDC increased FMD (P < 0.0001) and decreased total cholesterol (-6.5%; P < 0.0001), and LDL cholesterol (-7.5%; P < 0.0001). Changes in insulin sensitivity (Delta ISI - Delta FMD: r = 0.510, P = 0.001; Delta QUICKI - Delta FMD: r = 0.502, P = 0.001) and beta-cell function (Delta CIR(120) - Delta FMD: r = 0.400, P = 0.012) were directly correlated with increases in FMD and inversely correlated with decreases in BP (Delta ISI - Delta 24-h SBP: r = -0.368, P = 0.022; Delta ISI - Delta 24-h DBP r = -0.384, P = 0.017). Thus, FRDC ameliorated insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function, decreased BP, and increased FMD in IGT hypertensive patients. These findings suggest flavanol-rich, low-energy cocoa food products may have a positive impact on CVD risk factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center