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Effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Apples Enriched-Dark Chocolate on Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Patients with Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Randomized Cross-Over Trial

1
Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Department of Surgical, Medical and Molecular Pathology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pisa, 56100 Pisa, Italy
2
BioLabs, Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 56127 Pisa, Italy
3
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Pisa, 56100 Pisa, Italy
4
Trees and Timber Institute, IVALSA-CNR, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy
5
Interdepartmental Research Center “Nutraceuticals and Food for Health”, University of Pisa, 56100 Pisa, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Antioxidants 2019, 8(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8040088
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention)
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Abstract

Background: Endothelial dysfunction has been associated to cardiovascular outcomes in patients with cardiovascular risk factors. Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play an important physiological role for their reparative potential of vascular integrity, but are numerically reduced and functionally impaired in patients with cardiovascular risks. This study assesses the effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and apple-enriched dark chocolate intake on the blood levels of EPCs. Methods: Thirty volunteers with cardiovascular risk factors, enrolled in a randomised, crossover, four-weeks trial, received a solid dark chocolate bar (40 g/day) containing 10% EVOO or 2.5% dry apples. Urine samples were analyzed for endogenous metabolites. Circulating EPCs levels, clinical data and anthropometric examinations were collected. Results: 26 volunteers (M/F:14/12, 51 ± 9 years of age) completed the study. Comparison of pre-post intervention revealed a significant increase in EPCs levels associated with EVOO-dark chocolate consumption. Most biochemical parameters were not significantly modified by both chocolates. Conclusions: This study shows that a daily consumption of a non fattening dose of dark chocolate enriched with EVOO improves blood levels of EPCs, a well known surrogate biologic marker for endothelial function. View Full-Text
Keywords: dark chocolate; endothelial progenitor cells; cardiovascular risk factors; metabolism dark chocolate; endothelial progenitor cells; cardiovascular risk factors; metabolism
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Felice, F.; Francini, A.; Domenici, V.; Cifelli, M.; Belardinelli, E.; Sebastiani, L.; Cantini, C.; Di Stefano, R. Effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Apples Enriched-Dark Chocolate on Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Patients with Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Randomized Cross-Over Trial. Antioxidants 2019, 8, 88.

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