Targeted and metabolomic study of biomarkers of cocoa powder consumption
Effects on inflammatory biomarkers in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease
Cocoa and its derived products have received considerable attention in the last decade due to their numeroushealth benefits, including antioxidant, anti-platelet and positive effects on lipid metabolism and vascular function.Inflammation plays a key role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. However, cocoa feeding trials focused oninflammation are still rare and the results yielded are controversial. Health effects derived from cocoa consumption havebeen partly attributed to its high polyphenol content, in particular of flavan-3-ols. Bioavailability is a key issue in order forcocoa polyphenols to exert their biological activities. In the case of flavan-3-ols, bioavailability is dependent on theirdegree of polymerization, with the colon being an active site for the metabolism of high molecular weight flavan-3-ols orprocyanidins. Estimation of polyphenol consumption or exposure is also a very challenging task in Food and NutritionScience in order to correlate the intake of phytochemicals with health effects in vivo. In this area, modern analyticaltechniques based on mass spectrometry are leading to considerable advances in targeted metabolite analysis andparticularly in global metabolite analysis or metabolomics. In the current paper we have summarized the most relevantresults of our recent research conducted on the bioavailability of cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory biomarkers ofatherosclerosis in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CHD), including the application of both targeted analysisand a metabolomic approach for estimating polyphenol bioavailability and biomarkers of exposure.