BOSTON, February 15, 2002 The latest research suggests that consumption of a cocoa rich in flavanols, a sub-group of naturally occurring flavonoids, may be associated with the modulation of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a compound critical for healthy blood flow and blood pressure and has been identified by scientists as an important compound in the area of cardiovascular health. In fact, the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for research on nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system. This new preliminary research was presented during a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Nitric oxide plays such an important role in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure and, in turn, cardiovascular health, said Norman Hollenberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School and lead investigator of the cocoa study. If our research results continue to support a link between consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa and nitric oxide synthesis, there could be significant implications for public health.
Dr. Hollenbergs research began as an inquiry into the difference between the isolated, island-dwelling Kuna Amerinds in Central America, who had a low tendency toward developing age-related hypertension, and Kuna who had migrated to the mainland, who did develop hypertension with age. It was observed that the island-dwelling Kuna had significantly higher nitrite/nitrate excretion than those on the mainland, which suggests that the nitric oxide pathway may be involved. The team learned that the Kuna consume large quantities of cocoa, findings that are published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, and they pursued the idea that this flavanol-rich food may play a part. To test this hypothesis, they fed Boston volunteers cocoa with either a high amount or low amount of flavanols, each of whicPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
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