Cocoa flavonols reduced PAD
Peripheral arteries—those serving the arms, legs and torso—can narrow due to plaque, a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). In this study, 44 adults with PAD added a packet of flavonol-rich, unsweetened cocoa powder or a placebo powder to milk or water, three times per day.
After six months, those taking cocoa flavonols were able to walk 13 feet more than the placebo group in a six-minute walking test, while the placebo group walked 7.5 feet less than they did at the start of the study. In a biopsy of calf muscle, the cocoa group had greater cellular energy activity, more capillaries feeding the muscles, and greater blood flow.
Reference: Circulation Research; 2020, Vol. 126, No. 5, 589-99
Lutein complex increased blood flow to the eye
To clearly focus the images we see, nerve cells in the retina of the eye need a constant supply of blood delivering oxygen and nutrients. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health conditions can reduce retinal blood flow, impairing vision.
In this study, 16 healthy women took a placebo or a combination of 10 mg of lutein, 500 mg of vitamin C, 364 mg of vitamin E tocopherols, 2.5 mg of carnosic acid rosemary extract, 2 mg of zeaxanthin, and 2 mg of copper per day, for three weeks. Pausing for three weeks, the women then switched groups.
Compared to the placebo phases, the lutein phases showed significantly greater retinal capillary blood flow, and reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which declined an average 4.06 and 3.69 mmHg, respectively.
Reference: International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research; 2019, Vol. 89, 5-12