Background: Numerous clinical studies have reported that ingestion of chocolate has reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. In order to elucidate the mechanism, we evaluated the influence of flavan-3-ols derived from cocoa powder on energy metabolism in mice using an indirect calorimetric method.
Method: The mice were divided into two groups, and administered either distilled water or 50 mg/kg of flavan-3-ol fraction for 2 weeks. At the end of the experimental period, animals were sacrificed after blood pressure and the mean respiratory exchange ratio (RER) over 24 hours were measured.
Results: The mean respiratory exchange ratio (RER) over 24 hours was reduced significantly in the flavan-3-ols group. The mean blood pressure was significantly decreased in flavan-3-ols treatment group compared with control group. The protein level of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2) was increased significantly by flavan-3-ols in skeletal muscle, but not in liver. Uncoupling protein (UCP) 1 was increased significantly in brown adipose tissue by flavan-3-ols. The mitochondria copy number in gastrocnemius and soleus muscles and brown adipose tissue were increased significantly by administration of flavan-3-ol fraction.
Conclusion: These results suggest that flavan-3-ols enhances lipolysis and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis. We conclude that improvement of metabolic syndrome risk factors following ingestion of chocolate may be induced, in part, by the mitochondrial biogenesis-promoting effect of flavan-3-ols.