Acute Consumption of Flavan-3-ol-Enriched Dark Chocolate Affects Human Endogenous Metabolism

Luisa Martha Ostertag, Mark Philo, Ian J Colquhoun, Henri S Tapp, Shikha Saha, Garry G Duthie, E Kate Kemsley, Baukje de Roos, Paul A Kroon, Gwénaëlle Le Gall

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Flavan-3-ols and methylxanthines have potential beneficial effects on human health including reducing cardiovascular risk. We performed a randomized controlled cross-over intervention trial to assess the acute effects of consumption of flavan-3-ol-enriched dark chocolate, compared with standard dark chocolate and white chocolate, on the human metabolome. We assessed the metabolome in urine and blood plasma samples collected before and at 2 h and 6 h after consumption of chocolates in 42 healthy volunteers using a non-targeted metabolomics approach. Plasma samples were assessed and showed differentiation between time points with no further separation among the three chocolate treatments. Multivariate statistics applied to urine samples could readily separate the postprandial time points and distinguish between the treatments. Most of the markers responsible for the multivariate discrimination between the chocolates were of dietary origin. Interestingly, small but significant level changes were also observed for a subset of endogenous metabolites. 1H NMR revealed that flavan-3-ol-enriched dark chocolate and standard dark chocolate reduced urinary levels of creatinine, lactate, some amino acids and related degradation products and increased the levels of pyruvate and 4-hydroxyphenylacetate, a phenolic compound of bacterial origin. This study demonstrates that an acute chocolate intervention can significantly affect human metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2516-2526
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Competitive Strategic Grant and the Scottish Government Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate (RERAD). All chocolates were specifically produced for this study and provided free of charge by Natraceutical Group, Valencia, Spain. We thank the volunteers who participated in the study.


  • Journal Article
  • NMR
  • MS
  • metabolomics
  • chocolate
  • metabolism
  • health
  • flavonoids
  • methylxanthines


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