Monday, April 20, 2009


In my readings this weekend, I came across a piece of work done by Dr Yamazaki et al, published in the American J of Physiology, vol 295, 2008. It was an elegant piece of work done in rodents, showing that epicatechins protect against ischemic myocardial injury. What is the relevance for us?
You see, catechins and epicatechins, are flavanols, found in cocoa beans. Flavanols, belong to a group of nutriceuticals ( I have alot of interest in this ), call flavanoids, of red wine popularity. Flavanoids, often associated in the skin of grapes used to make red wine, has been shown to be cardioprotective, the easiest evidence is that in the French paradox. French eat saturated fats and also drink alot of wine, which protects their heart so that the incidence of CAD in France ( for all the smoking and saturated fats that they consume ) have a low incidence of heart disease.
Flavonoids are said to have healthy effects including, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-adhesive, anti-thrombotic, vasodilatory and anti-tumor effects. I think that the anti-oxidant and anti-thrombotic effects are probably the most important for the heart.
Back to cocoa. Well cocoa contains plenty of flavanols, the darker, and the more bitter, the more flavanols. Once the chocolate manufacturer make the polish the cocoa and make it white and sweet, the flavanols are removed. Flavanols in cocoa, contains catechins and epicatechins. Yamazaki and colleagues show that rodents who were fed epicatechins before ligation of their LAD, showed smaller area of myocardial ischemia, after the LA ligature is removed, thereby
demonstrating that epicatechins may protect the rodent myocardium against ischemic injury.
It is a simple experiment, but may contain important information. There are many of us who take chocolates. Well, it is good to know that chocolates can help my heart, and pprotect me against a bad infarct. Only make sure that the chocolates that you consume, is dark and bitter. The sweet ones are only for the momentary pleasures and does nothing for the heart.

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