Cocoa flavanols and your skin
Antioxidant protection, microcirculation, collagen production, cellulite
Polyphenols from the cocoa bean (Theobroma cacao) have been widely researched for decades and have been found in numerous studies to fight free radical damage (antioxidant), fat tissue inflammation, protect collagen and boost circulation and thereby fight water retention, cellulite and ageing.
Cocoa flavanol creams
For all these reasons, cocoa polyphenols / flavanols are of great importance as an active ingredient in anti-cellulite, leg wellness, skin firming and under-eye creams [the Celluence® cellulite creams are the only creams in the world to contain 95% pure, high quality cocoa flavanols in a patented, enhanced skin absorption form, plus another 39 natural anti-cellulite actives].
Flavanol content of cocoa powder
Ever wondered how much in the way of flavanols is contained in a teaspoon of cocoa? Well, brace for the answers!
Normal cocoa powder contains about 0.5% flavanols (~25mg per teaspoon), so called "raw cocoa" contains about 1% (~50mg per teaspoon) and the best high flavanol cocoa on the market today contains about 8% flavanols, i.e. 16x times more than normal cocoa (~400mg per teaspoon). The cocoa we use for our treatments and creams comprises 95% flavanols and its price is about £2500 per kg, wholesale.
13+ ways Cocoa flavanols...
...help fight inflammation, diet-induced obesity and fibrosis and improve blood vessel function and circulation
13/ Cocoa epicatechins and their oligomers (procyanidins)...
...reduce hypertension and platelet aggregation, and improve serum lipids and the incidence of atherosclerosis, due to their physiological functions as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents (Source: Polyphenols: inflammation)
12/ Cocoa polyphenols improve microvascular function
(Source: Polyphenols and Microvascular Function in Humans: A Systematic Review)
11/ Dietary cocoa polyphenols reduce platelet activation...
...and aggregation via multiple pathways: via neutralizing free radicals, inhibiting platelet activation, blocking thromboxane A2 receptors and by enhancing nitric oxide production (Source: Polyphenols: anti-platelet nutraceutical?)..
10/ Epicatechin, the most abundant flavonoid in cocoa boosts NO levels by inhibiting arginase...
... thereby increasing artery dilatation and blood circulation and protecting from ischemia (Source: The cardioprotective effects of (-)-Epicatechin are mediated through arginase activity inhibition in a murine model of ischemia/reperfusion)
9/ Cocoa flavanols and procyanidins inhibit angiotensin (ACE)
Purified flavonoids and all flavanol-rich foods (especially red wine, chocolate and green tea) inhibit angiotensin activity, due to both phenolic and flavanol content in the foods. However, the most effective compounds in ACE inhibition were flavanols and dimeric and hexameric procyanidins, while epigallocatechin, while catechin, epicatechin, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid quercetin, kaempferol and resveratrol were ineffective. (Source: Inhibition of angiotensin converting enzyme activity by flavanol-rich foods)
8/ Cocoa flavanols protect skin from UV radiation, equal to SPF 2...
...after just 12 weeks of consumption of a small portion of high flavanol chocolate. Low flavanol chocolate does not have this effect (Source: Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light)
7/ Cocoa flavanols help improve endothelial and metabolic function,
...inflammation, oxidative damage, blood pressure, atherogenesis and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Cocoa polyphenols comprise mainly catechins (29%–38% of total polyphenols), anthocyanins (4% of total polyphenols) and proanthocyanidins (58%–65% of total polyphenols). (Source: The Cardiovascular Effects of Cocoa Polyphenols—An Overview)
6/ Cocoa polyphenols fight inflammation by switching macrophages...
...from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory function, thereby "significantly lowering the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines" (macrophages function as control switches of the immune system, maintaining the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory activities) (Source: Effect of Cocoa Polyphenolic Extract on Macrophage Polarization from Proinflammatory M1 to Anti-Inflammatory M2 State)
5/ Cocoa fights adipose tissue inflammation...
...by reducing the levels of several inflammation-related markers in fat tissue, including TNF-alpha, iNOS, arachidonic acid, adipose-specific phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and plasma endotoxin by up to 60% (Source: Dietary cocoa reduces metabolic endotoxemia and adipose tissue inflammation in high-fat fed mice)
4/ Theobromine from cocoa inhibits fat accumulation and adipogenesis...
...(adipocyte differentiation) by suppressing the C/EBP beta protein and via blocking the adenosine receptor A1, new study shows (Source: Theobromine suppresses adipogenesis through enhancement of CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein β degradation by adenosine receptor A1)
3/ 17g of cocoa/40mg of cocoa flavanols a day significantly improves arterial elasticity in just 12 weeks...
...in post-menopausal women. After 12 weeks of use both carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV) and femoral-ankle pulse-wave velocity had significantly decreased compared to the beginning of the study. Context: One of the most important health benefits of cocoa / cacao is its reduction of arterial stiffness, an important risk factor of cardiovascular health disease. Arterial stiffness is substantially higher in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women. Daily cocoa intake has been shown to reduce central arterial stiffness in healthy adults, regardless of age. This study shows that even in post-menopausal women arterial stiffness is reduced, simply by consuming some cocoa. (Source: Habitual cocoa intake reduces arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women regardless of intake frequency: a randomized parallel-group study)
2/ Cocoa flavanols & procyanidins homeostatically modulate TGF-beta1...
...thereby optimising inflammation and collagen synthesis in blood vessels and skin, increasing low levels and reducing high levels. Specifically, low molecular weight fractions (1-mer to 5-mer) boost TGF-beta1, with monomers and dimers inducing the greatest increases (66% and 68%, respectively). On the other hand, higher molecular weight fractions (3-mer to 10-mer) inhibit TGF-beta1 secretion, with trimers to decamers inducing the most pronounced inhibition (28%-42%).
(Source: Cocoa flavonols and procyanidins promote transforming growth factor-beta1 homeostasis in peripheral blood mononuclear cells)
1/ Cocoa epicatechins protect from adipose tissue inflammation, diet induced obesity...
...and insulin resistance by "markedly suppressing" the CCL19 receptor expression on macrophages (Source: Epicatechin downregulates adipose tissue CCL19 expression and thereby ameliorates diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance).