Low vs. Higher-dose dark chocolate and blood pressure in cardiovascular high-risk patients

Steffen Desch*, Daniela Kobler, Johanna Schmidt, Melanie Sonnabend, Volker Adams, Mahdi Sareban, Ingo Eitel, Matthias Blüher, Gerhard Schuler, Holger Thiele

*Corresponding author for this work
65 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dark chocolate may have blood pressure-lowering properties. We conducted a prospective randomized open-label blinded end-point design trial to study a potential dose dependency of the presumed antihypertensive effect of dark chocolate by directly comparing low vs. higher doses of dark chocolate over the course of 3 months. Methods: We enrolled a total of 102 patients with prehypertension/stage 1 hypertension and established cardiovascular end-organ damage or diabetes mellitus. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 6 or 25g/day of flavanol-rich dark chocolate for 3 months. The difference in 24-h mean blood pressure between groups was defined as the primary outcome measure. Results: Significant reductions in mean ambulatory 24-h blood pressure were observed between baseline and follow-up in both groups (6g/day:-2.3mmHg, 95% confidence interval-4.1 to-0.4; 25g/day:-1.9mmHg, 95% confidence interval 3.6 to 0.2). There were no significant differences in blood pressure changes between groups. In the higher-dose group, a slight increase in body weight was noted (0.8kg, 95% confidence interval 0.06 to 1.6). Conclusions The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that dark chocolate may be associated with a reduction in blood pressure (BP). However, due to the lack of a control group, confounding may be possible and the results should be interpreted with caution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)694-700
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 06.2010

Research Areas and Centers

  • Centers: Cardiological Center Luebeck (UHZL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-12 Cardiology, Angiology

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