MinervaBMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3675 (Published 13 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3675
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We refer to an excerpt in Minerva on dark chocolate and high blood pressure referencing Egan BM et al. Hypertension 2010;55:1289-85.
Our recently published meta-analysis (BMC Medicine 2010; 8:39, Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/8/39/abstract ) has addressed some of the unanswered questions raised in the article.
Our meta-analysis suggests that dark chocolate is superior to placebo in reducing blood pressures of more than 140 mm Hg systolic or more than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
Rather than comparing the brand of chocolate, our meta-analysis compared the content of flavanol or polyphenol, which are the compounds responsible for the blood pressure lowering action of chocolate.
Daily flavanol dosages ranged between 30-1000 mg (equivalent to 6.3g-100g of milk or dark chocolate), and interventions ran between 2-18 weeks. Data are insufficient to provide confident answers on optimal dosage and time frame.
However, the practicability of chocolate as a long-term treatment option is debatable. A trial by our team (BMC Comp Alt Med 2009; 9:22, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/9/22/abstract ) indicated that the acceptability of 50g daily of 70% cocoa chocolate as a possible long-term treatment option for blood pressure was significantly lower at 73% than that of one capsule daily of placebo or tomato extract, which 100% of participants found acceptable as a possible long-term treatment.
Competing interests: No competing interests