Cocoa Flavanol May Be Beneficial for ESRD Patients

(HealthDay News) — For patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), daily cocoa flavanol (CF) ingestion alleviates acute and chronic hemodialysis (HD)-induced vascular dysfunction, according to a study published online December 17 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Noting that CF-rich supplements improve cardiovascular function, Tienush Rassaf, M.D., from the University Hospital Essen in Germany, and colleagues examined the impact of flavanol-rich bioactive food ingredients on acute and chronic HD-induced vascular dysfunction in ESRD. Fifty-seven patients with ESRD were enrolled and consumed CF-rich beverages compared with CF-free placebo in a randomized, double-blind trial that included: a baseline cross-over acute study; a chronic parallel-group study; an acute substudy during HD in flavanol-naive patients; and an acute-on-chronic study during HD.

The researchers found that CF ingestion was well tolerated. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) improved by 53 percent with acute ingestion (P < 0.001), with no effects on blood pressure or heart rate. There was an 18 percent increase in baseline FMD with 30-day ingestion of CF (P < 0.001), with reduced diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.03) and increased heart rate (P = 0.01). There were no effects for placebo. HD-induced vascular dysfunction was alleviated with acute ingestion of CF during HD (P < 0.001); this effect was sustained throughout the study period (P = 0.01).

“Larger clinical trials are warranted to test whether this translates into an improved cardiovascular prognosis in ESRD patients,” the authors write.

The CF test products and analytic standard were provided by MARS Symbioscience.

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