Study: Chocolate Pills to Help Your Heart

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A new study is being launched to see if pills containing the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Chocolate pills

Lead by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the study will be the first large test to evaluate cocoa flavanols, which in previous, smaller studies improved blood pressure, cholesterol, the body’s use of insulin, artery health and other heart-related factors.

The study will also evaluate the use of multivitamins to help prevent cancer. Recent research suggested this benefit but involved just older, unusually healthy men [1]. One commentary went so far as to call multivitamins a “waste” of money after finding little health benefits for most adults [2].

The study will be sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s and Snickers bars. The candy company has patented a way to extract flavanols from cocoa in high concentration and put them in capsules. Mars sells cocoa extract capsules under the brand name CocoaVia, but with less active ingredient than those that will be tested in the study. In most candy on the market today, cocoa flavanols are destroyed by processing.

Source: CBS News


  1. Gaziano et al. Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Nov 14;308(18):1871-80.
    View abstract
  2. Guallar et al. Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Dec 17;159(12):850-1.
    View abstract
About the Author

Jenny Jessen is a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH.