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Cocoa intake and arterial stiffness in subjects with cardiovascular risk factors

José Ignacio Recio-Rodríguez1*, Manuel A Gómez-Marcos1, María C Patino-Alonso2, Cristina Agudo-Conde1, Emiliano Rodríguez-Sánchez1, Luis García-Ortiz1 and Vaso-Risk group

Author Affiliations

1 Primary Care Research Unit, La Alamedilla Health Center, Avda. Comuneros 27, 37003 Salamanca, Spain

2 Statistics Department, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain

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Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:8  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-8

Published: 10 February 2012



To analyze the relationship of cocoa intake to central and peripheral blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and carotid intima-media thickness in subjects with some cardiovascular risk factor.


Design: A cross-sectional study of 351 subjects (mean age 54.76 years, 62.4% males). Measurements: Intake of cocoa and other foods using a food frequency questionnaire, central and peripheral (ambulatory and office) blood pressure, central and peripheral augmentation index, pulse wave velocity, ambulatory arterial stiffness index, carotid intima-media thickness, and ankle-brachial index.

Results: Higher pulse wave velocity and greater cardiovascular risk were found in non-cocoa consumers as compared to high consumers (p < 0.05). In a multivariate analysis, these differences disappeared after adjusting for age, gender, the presence of diabetes, systolic blood pressure and antihypertensive and lipid-lowering drug use. All other arterial stiffness measures (central and peripheral augmentation index, ambulatory arterial stiffness index, ankle-brachial index, and carotid intima-media thickness) showed no differences between the different consumption groups.


In subjects with some cardiovascular risk factors, cocoa consumption does not imply improvement in the arterial stiffness values.

Trial Registration

Clinical Identifier: NCT01325064.

Cocoa; Atherosclerosis; Blood pressure