Cacao & soy compounds show heart health benefits for diabetic women: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Diabetes mellitus Insulin Diabetes

Cacao & soy compounds show heart health benefits for diabetic women: Study
Supplementation with cacao-flavonoids and soy isoflavones may improve levels of biomarkers of heart disease in postmenopausal, diabetic women, says a new study.

A daily dose of 27 grams of flavonoid-enriched chocolate and 100 milligrams of isoflavones for 12 months were associated with improvements in sensitivity to insulin, as well as improvements in blood levels of LDL cholesterol, report researchers from the UK’s University of East Anglia, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust, and the Institute of Food Research.

“This pragmatic 1-year trial provides evidence to suggest that the intake of flavonoids results in sustained improvements in lipid profile and insulin sensitivity and an attenuation of estimated [coronary heart disease] risk, highlighting the additional benefit of flavonoids to standard drug therapy in managing [cardiovascular disease] risk in patients with type 2 diabetes,” ​wrote the researchers in Diabetes Care​.

“Our study is the only combined flavonoid trial and the longest flavan-3-ol intervention to date, and our findings have potential clinical relevance.”

The study used Barry Callebaut’s Acticoa product and Frutarom’s SoyLife40 isoflavone ingredient, and both companies supported the study. The trial was funded by British charity Diabetes UK.

The study’s findings were welcomed by Mira Koppert, Manager of the LifeLine brand extension at Frutarom: “We are incredibly happy with the new study results showing that the soy isoflavones in SoyLife, produced by Frutarom, in combination with cacao-flavonoids could help decrease CVD risk,”​ said Koppert.

“We anticipate these outstanding findings will open new opportunities in marketing SoyLife to supplement makers and food processors and position it as the leading soy isoflavones source in the global market.”

Study details

Led by Peter Curtis, PhD, the researchers recruited 93 medicated postmenopausal women with type-2 diabetes. The women were randomly assigned to received placebo or a supplement containing 27 grams per day of flavonoid-enriched chocolate (Acticoa chocolate containing 850 mg flavan-3-ols plus 100 mg of isoflavones per day) for one year.

Results showed that the flavonoids group had reduced resistance to insulin and a corresponding improvement in insulin sensitivity.

In addition, the researchers recorded “significant reductions in total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio and LDL-cholesterol”​.

“The observed effect is of potential clinical significance. A 1.0 mmol/L reduction in LDL-C has been associated with a 21% decrease in vascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes, suggesting that long-term flavonoid intervention may be associated with a 3.4% reduction in vascular events,”​ wrote Curtis and his colleagues.

“Long-term studies are now required to determine whether these effects are restricted to populations of medicated postmenopausal women with established type 2 diabetes and to determine whether chronic intake of flavan-3-ols or isoflavones is as effective when consumed independently,” ​they concluded.

Source: Diabetes Care
Volume 35, Number 2, Pages 226-232, doi: 10.2337/dc11-1443
“Isoflavones Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Lipoprotein Status and Attenuates Estimated 10-Year CVD Risk in Medicated Postmenopausal Women With Type 2 Diabetes - A 1-year, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial”
Authors: P.J. Curtis, M. Sampson, J. Potter, K. Dhatariya, P.A. Kroon, A. Cassidy

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