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Ecuadorian Cacao - vascular function, glucose control and exercise performance

Cacao is a rich source of polyphenols, flavanols in particular, that are suggested to elicit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and consequently enhance vascular function via increased NO bioavailability  and enhance insulin sensitivity.

We are studying the acute and chronic effects of Ecuadorian cacao on vascular function (flow mediated dilatation of the brachial artery measured using ultrasound), insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control (oral glucose tolerance test) and exercise performance. A key aim is to characterise the dose response relationship between cacao (flavanols and proanthocyanidins), plasma phenolic metabolite concentrations and improved vascular function.

This work is funded by the Ecuador government and cacao company Inmobiliaria Guangala, and is being carried out by Paola Wollmann, Prof Jo Bowtell, and Dr Sarah Jackman.