August 3, 2007
BARCELONAGreater intake of cocoa flavonoids may enhance antioxidant defenses by influencing differentiation of immune cells in the thymus (J Agric Food Chem, 55(16):6431-38, 2007; DOI:10.1021/jf070487w). Researchers from the University of Barcelona administered natural cocoa (4 percent or 10 percent of food intake) to Wistar rats for three weeks, corresponding to their infancy. Flavonoid absorption was confirmed through quantification of epicatechin metabolites in the urine. Cocoa intake enhanced total antioxidant capacity in all tissues, especially in the thymus. In addition, activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase in the thymus was dose-dependently increased by cocoa. Finally, an increase in percentage of thymocytes in advanced development was found, suggesting cocoa flavonoids enhanced the thymus antioxidant defenses.
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