Dark Chocolate Consumption May Reduce Essential Hypertension

Jan. 26, 2024
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I’m a self-confessed chocoholic. Afternoon snack? Chocolate. Dessert? Something chocolate. Let’s go get ice cream? I’m getting some variety of chocolate.

Recently, there has been some good news for dark chocolate lovers (which just happens to be my chocolate of choice). A team of cardiologists at Shaoxing People's Hospital, working with a colleague from Zhuji People's Hospital, both in China, found an association between consumption of dark chocolate and reductions in the risk of essential hypertension.

The paper entitled, “Dark chocolate intake and cardiovascular diseases: a Mendelian randomization study,” was published in Scientific Reports on Jan. 10.

The report states that “Previous intervention studies have shown some benefits of dark chocolate for the cardiovascular system, but it has not been established whether dark chocolate intake is associated with the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). To investigate the causality between dark chocolate intake and the risk of CVDs, a Mendelian randomization (MR) study was conducted. We obtained summary-level data on dark chocolate intake and CVDs from publicly available genome-wide association studies. In this MR study, the main approach was to use a fixed-effect model with inverse variance weighted (IVW) and evaluate the robustness of the results via sensitivity analysis. We found that dark chocolate intake was significantly associated with the reduction of the risk of essential hypertension (EH) (OR=0.73; 95% CI 0.600.88; p=1.06×103), as well as with the suggestive association to the reduced risk of venous thromboembolism (OR=0.69; 95% CI 0.500.96; p=2.81×102). However, no association was found between dark chocolate intake and the other ten CVDs. Our study provides evidence for a causality between dark chocolate intake and a reduced risk of EH, which has important implications for the prevention of EH in the population.”

OK, so the team only found that dark chocolate intake was associated with the reduction of essential hypertension not the other 10 cardiovascular diseases the team looked at. Yet, the team says the findings are strong enough to warrant further studies. (I could not find any information on how to volunteer for a future study.)

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