3.9. A Single Portion of Cocoa High in Flavanols Acutely Improves Microcirculation in Human Skin
Heinrich, U. *; Garbe, B.; Tronnier, H.; Stahl, W.
Background and objectives
Long-term ingestion of cocoa rich in flavanols increases cutaneous blood flow and improves skin condition in humans. Aim: To investigate the acute effects of a single dose of cocoa rich in flavanols on dermal microcirculation.
In a crossover design study, 10 healthy women ingested a cocoa drink with high (329 mg) or low (27 mg) content of flavanols. The major flavanol monomer in both drinks was epicatechin, 61 mg in the high flavanol and 6.6 mg in the low flavanol product per 100 mL. Dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation were examined by laser Doppler flowmetry and spectroscopically at 1 mm skin depth at times = 0, 1, 2, 4 and 6 h. At the same time points, plasma levels of total epicatechin (free compound plus conjugates) were measured by means of HPLC (Heinrich, U., et al. Wilson, P.K., Hurst, W.J., Eds. Choc. Heal. Chem. Nutr. Ther. The Royal Society of Chemistry: Cambridge, UK, 2015; pp. 179–195).
Results and conclusion:
Subsequent to the intake of high flavanol cocoa, dermal blood flow
was significantly increased by 1.7-fold at t = 2 h and oxygen saturation was elevated 1.8-fold.
No statistically significant changes were found upon intake of low flavanol cocoa. Maximum plasma levels of total epicatechin were observed 1 h after ingestion of the high flavanol cocoa drink, 11.6 7.4 nmol/L at baseline, and 62.9 35.8 nmol/L at 1 h. No change of total epicatechin was found in the low flavanol group. Flavanol-rich cocoa acutely improves dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation. Dietary flavanols may contribute to the maintenance of skin health and may influence skin appearance.