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HDL and Dark Chocolate

From Dr RJ Rowen’s website:


A tasty way to raise your good cholesterol

Doctors are finding every reason possible to prescribe statins these days. A doctor recently told my father to take statins even though his cholesterol is around 184. Why? To raise his good cholesterol. This is malpractice if you ask me. Especially when there are other ways to raise your HDL cholesterol without chemicals. In fact, I just found a very tasty way to raise your HDL by as much as 24%!

A new study on 25 patients with normal or slightly elevated cholesterol found that long-term intake of cocoa powder dramatically increases your HDL cholesterol. The researchers gave the participants one of two drinks for 12 weeks. They gave they control group a sugar pill (with 12 grams of sugar). And they gave the other group 26 grams of cocoa powder.

At the end of the study, HDL increased a tremendous 24% in the cocoa group compared to 5% in the control group. Even better, the researchers found that the cocoa group had reduced oxidative damage to LDL and 24% reduction in dityrosine. LDL is very susceptible to oxidative damage. That's when LDL becomes very dangerous and is the initial step in atherosclerosis. The researchers noted that higher HDL slows the oxidation of LDL. Dityrosine is a marker for free radical oxidative damage to the proteins in your blood. The sugar reduced the control group's dityrosine by only 1% (statistically irrelevant).

Natural cocoa a remedy for heart disease? How simple can it get?

As I've admitted, I have a thing for dark chocolate. I also have found raw cocoa beans from local distributors and on my recent trip to Bali. You can find raw and organic cocoa beans, powder, and butter on the Internet. I will be looking for a reliable and fair priced source for this incredible super food.

If you want your source of cocoa to be chocolate, that's fine. Just be sure that it's organic dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa content.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Robert Jay Rowen, MD

Ref: Am J Clin Nutr, 2007; 85(3): 709-717.