Consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa acutely increases microcirculation in human skin
Long term cocoa ingestion leads to an increased resistance against UV-induced erythema and a lowered transepidermal water loss.
Aim of the study
To investigate the acute effects of a single dose of cocoa rich in flavanols on dermal microcirculation.
In a crossover design study, 10 healthy women ingested a cocoa drink (100 ml) with high (329 mg) or low (27 mg) content of flavanols. The major flavanol monomer in both drinks was epicatechin, 61 mg in the high flavanol, and 6.6 mg in the low flavanol product per 100 ml. Dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation of hemoglobin were examined by laser Doppler flowmetry and spectroscopically at 1 mm skin depth at t = 0, 1, 2, 4, and 6 h. At the same time points, plasma levels of total epicatechin (free compound plus conjugates) were measured by means of HPLC.
Subsequent to the intake of high flavanol cocoa, dermal blood flow was significantly increased by 1.7-fold at t = 2 h and oxygen saturation was elevated 1.8-fold. No statistically significant changes were found upon intake of low flavanol cocoa. Maximum plasma levels of total epicatechin were observed 1 h after ingestion of the high flavanol cocoa drink, 11.6 ± 7.4 nmol/l at baseline, and 62.9 ± 35.8 nmol/l at 1 h. No change of total epicatechin was found in the low flavanol group.
Flavanol-rich cocoa consumption acutely increases dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation.
Keywordsepicatechin microcirculation skin human flavonoids blood flow
The project was supported by “Krebsforschung International” (Düsseldorf, Germany). H.S. is a Fellow of the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), Bethesda, MD.
- 1.Boelsma E, vande Vijver LP, Goldbohm RA, Klopping-Ketelaars IA, Hendriks HF, Roza L (2003) Human skin condition and its associations with nutrient concentrations in serum and diet. Am J Clin Nutr 77:348–355Google Scholar
- 4.Gu L, Kelm MA, Hammerstone JF, Beecher G, Holden J, Haytowitz D, Gebhardt S, Prior RL (2004) Concentrations of proanthocyanidins in common foods and estimations of normal consumption. J Nutr 134:613–617Google Scholar
- 5.Heinrich U, Neukam K, Tronnier H, Sies H, Stahl W (2006) Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J Nutr 136:1565–1569Google Scholar
- 6.Baba S, Osakabe N, Natsume M, Yasuda A, Takizawa T, Nakamura T, Terao J (2000) Cocoa powder enhances the level of antioxidative activity in rat plasma. Br J Nutr 84:673–680Google Scholar
- 7.Sies H, Schewe T, Heiss C, Kelm M (2005) Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory mediators. Am J Clin Nutr 81:304S–312SGoogle Scholar
- 8.Warden BA, Smith LS, Beecher GR, Balentine DA, Clevidence BA (2001) Catechins are bioavailable in men, women drinking black tea throughout the day. J Nutr 131:1731–1737Google Scholar