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Food Funct. 2012 Aug;3(8):867-74. doi: 10.1039/c2fo10267f. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Hypotensive, hypoglycaemic and antioxidant effects of consuming a cocoa product in moderately hypercholesterolemic humans.

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Department of Metabolism and Nutrition, Food Science, Technology and Nutrition Institute (ICTAN), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), José Antonio Novais 10, 28040 Madrid, Spain.



The health benefits of dietary fiber and polyphenols in reducing cardiovascular risk have been evidenced. Cocoa husks are a good source of both components and a considerable by-product. A cocoa product rich in cocoa fiber (CP) has been produced from cocoa husks and this study assessed whether its regular consumption may be a strategy to improve lipid profile, serum glucose and antioxidant activity as well as blood pressure in moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects.


In this free-living, non-controlled, non-randomized, two-month-long, open intervention trial. 21 volunteers consumed daily two servings of CP, which provided 12 g of dietary fiber and 283 mg of soluble polyphenols. Subjects were moderately hypercholesterolemic (>200 mg dl(-1)), non-vegetarian, non-smoker, women and men between 18 and 45 years old, with a body mass index under 30 kg m(-2), not suffering from any other chronic pathology. Blood samples were drawn and anthropometric measurements, systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures were evaluated at the baseline, and at weeks 2, 4, and 8. Serum lipids, creatinine, uric acid, glucose, C-reactive protein, ferric reducing/antioxidant power and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were analyzed.


Glucose (p = 0.019), SBP (p = 0.001), DBP (p = 0.001) and MDA (p = 0.036) decreased, HDL-cholesterol slightly increased, whereas the rest of the parameters remained similar.


This preliminary study suggests that CP might be considered part of a dietary approach or a functional food or ingredient for the food industry to achieve hypotensive and hypoglycemic effects in moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects without inducing changes in body weight and waist circumference, although results should be confirmed in a longer, controlled human study.

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