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Functional Foods

Dark Chocolate May Protect DNA from Oxidative Damage

13 years, 9 months ago

9156  0
Posted on Dec 10, 2009, 6 a.m.

Italian researchers find that a balanced diet supplemented with dark chocolate slashes DNA damage by 20%.

Dark chocolate is recognized for its high content of flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to exert cardioprotective benefits.  Angela Spadafranca, from University of Milan (Italy), and colleagues assessed the effect of a dark chocolate composed of 860 mg polyphenols and containing 58 mg epicatechin, a specific type of antioxidant polyphenol.  The team assigned 20 healthy men  and women, average age 24.2 years, to  consume a balanced diet for 4 weeks, midway through which one-half of the subjects were asked to additionally consume dark chocolate.  The researchers observed that catechin levels  increased just two hours after the consumption of the dark chocolate, a rise that coincidentally correlated to decreases in DNA damage on the order of 20% that were observed in blood cells.  The team concludes that: “D[ark chocolate] may transiently improve DNA resistance to oxidative stress, probably for flavonoid kinetics.”

A. Spadafranca, C. Martinez Conesa, S. Sirini and G. Testolin.  “Effect of dark chocolate on plasma epicatechin levels DNA resistance to oxidative stress and total antioxidant activity in healthy subjects.”  British Journal of Nutrition, First View article, doi: 10.1017/S0007114509992698.

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