New medication has been launched in the UK, which has the ability to cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and dementia and is entirely made out of chocolate. BloodFlow+ uses flavanols extracted from cocoa to improve blood flow and combat cholesterol levels.
To get an effective dose by eating chocolate in its normal form would mean consuming 2,429 calories in one sitting. Instead, the pill has condensed all of the anti-oxidant nutrients into a capsule that provides the flavanols in their purest form.
It is the first time that a chocolate pill has been made available in the UK and is aimed at people suffering from heart problems. The Royal Society of Chemistry found in studies that flavanols help promote nitric oxide production, which relaxes arterial wall muscles.
Dr Alf Lindberg, advisor to Cambridge Nutraceuticals, a research company, said: “We believe this is the way forward. New analysis is showing there are powerful compounds in many natural nutrients that could help maintain the health of everyone.
“We support the huge amount of research has gone into Blood Flow+ and we are delighted that it is the first cocoa flavanol product officially allowed to claim it benefits heart health. Maintaining the elasticity of blood vessels is very important.”
He went on to explain that blood pressure that is even slightly elevated in midlife can lead to a great risk of dementia, strokes and heart attacks as people age. None of the blood pressure treatments that have been on the market up until now have been effective at reversing or preventing vascular stiffness.
Dementia, strokes and heart attacks are huge problems in the modern world and cardiovascular diseases account for 31 per cent of deaths across the globe. That equates to 17.5 million people every year, so if cocoa flavanols and dietary polyphenols can help, then it’s worth giving them a try.
More research is being carried out into the potential for flavanols by various teams of scientists all over the world. As well as taking them in midlife to help ward off health issues in later life, a programme in the US is looking at how they can be administered to the over-60s and the effects this might have.
Ian Macdonald, professor of metabolic physiology at Nottingham University, is an expert in flavanols. He said that the taste of pure cocoa has to be masked, as consuming it otherwise is far too bitter.