12 January - 20 June 2016

Compound found in tea, cocoa and apples associated with reduced risk of CVD mortality

It is reported that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for around 30% of all death worldwide. A study from The Netherlands, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has found long-term consumption of epicatechin, a compound found in cocoa, tea and apples, may reduce risk of CVD mortality.

It is reported that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for around 30% of all death worldwide. A study from The Netherlands, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has found long-term consumption of epicatechin, a compound found in cocoa, tea and apples, may reduce risk of CVD mortality.

Findings from previous studies have suggested that higher chocolate consumption is associated with a 37% lower risk of CVD and 29% lower risk of stroke.  Consumption of 3 cups of black or green tea per day have also been found to be associated with lower risk of stroke (13-36%).  Randomised controlled trials have reported that cocoa and tea intake can improve CVD risk markers such as endothelial function, blood pressure and insulin resistance. 

In this current study, using data from the Zutphen Elderly Study, Hollman et al. investigated the associations of epicatechin intake with 25 years mortality risk.  The Zutphen Elderly Study, which started in 1985, investigated risk factors of chronic diseases of 774 men aged 65-84 years old.     Epicatechin intake was estimated 4 times over 15 years and at the same time risk factors and lifestyle factors were measured and recorded.  This includes blood pressure, BMI, serum cholesterol, and physical activity.   Participants were followed until death or 30 June 2010 (25 years).

During the 25 years of follow up, 329 men died from CVD, 148 died from coronary heart disease, and 72 men died from stroke.  Mean intake of epicatechin intake was around 15.2 mg per day.  Major dietary sources were tea (51%), apples (28%) and cocoa (7%).  Hollman et al. split the participants into three groups based on average epicatechin intake to investigate the association with mortality risk.  The highest average intake was 21.9 mg/day (equivalent to approximately 6 cups (125 mL) of black tea, 54 g dark chocolate (54% cocoa) or 2-3 apples (1 apple being 120 g)),  the middle group averaged at 14.7 mg/day and the lower tertile 7.9 mg/day.  Participants who had the highest epicatechin intake were found to be more physically active and were more likely to be non-smokers. Intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrates, potassium and fibre were also higher in these participants.   Risk of long term-CVD mortality was reported to be 38% lower in men in the higher tertile of epicatechin intake compared to men in the lowest group.  Hollman et al. also report that in men with prevalent CVD, the highest intake of epicatechin was associated with 46% lower long-term CVD mortality risk compared to those in the lowest group. 

In discussion the authors reiterate their findings and discuss the inverse association between epicatechin intake and CVD morality, noting it could be mediated through changes in endothelial function. They state “pure epicatechin (200 mg) has been found to increase nitric oxide bioavailability and decrease endothelin-1, both of which are important mediators of endothelial function.”  A previous study by the team, involving the supplementation of 10 mg pure epicatechin per day for 4 weeks did not affect these markers, which they suggests indicates “that the dose and duration of exposure are critical”.  They also note that previous studies have reported epicatechin can improve insulin resistance, suggesting a protective role of epicatechin in the etiology of diabetes and CVD.

RSSL can analyse green tea for catechins, including epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC). For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry