Background: Flavonoids may be partly responsible for some health benefits, including antiinflammatory action and a decreased tendency for the blood to clot. An acute dose of flavanols and oligomeric procyanidins from cocoa powder inhibits platelet activation and function over 6 h in humans.
Objective: This study sought to evaluate whether 28 d of supplementation with cocoa flavanols and related procyanidin oligomers would modulate human platelet reactivity and primary hemostasis and reduce oxidative markers in vivo.
Design: Thirty-two healthy subjects were assigned to consume active (234 mg cocoa flavanols and procyanidins/d) or placebo (< or = 6 mg cocoa flavanols and procyanidins/d) tablets in a blinded parallel-designed study. Platelet function was determined by measuring platelet aggregation, ATP release, and expression of activation-dependent platelet antigens by using flow cytometry. Plasma was analyzed for oxidation markers and antioxidant status.
Results: Plasma concentrations of epicatechin and catechin in the active group increased by 81% and 28%, respectively, during the intervention period. The active group had significantly lower P selectin expression and significantly lower ADP-induced aggregation and collagen-induced aggregation than did the placebo group. Plasma ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly higher in the active than in the placebo group (P < 0.05), whereas plasma oxidation markers and antioxidant status did not change in either group.
Conclusions: Cocoa flavanol and procyanidin supplementation for 28 d significantly increased plasma epicatechin and catechin concentrations and significantly decreased platelet function. These data support the results of acute studies that used higher doses of cocoa flavanols and procyanidins.