ISLAMABAD(Online): Now, new research from the University of Illinois at Urbana?Champaign and other institutions has shown that extract of cocoa bean shells contains three compounds that could potentially reduce or prevent some of these cell changes.
Cocoa, green tea, and coffee also contain the same three compounds, which are: protocatechuic acid, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
A recent Molecular Nutrition & Food Research paper gives an account of the study and its findings.
The three compounds are plant phenolics, a group that occurs throughout the plant kingdom. In recent years, scientists have become increasingly interested in the health properties of plant phenolics.
In obesity, white adipocytes, a type of fat cell, acquire too much fat and spur the growth of immune cells called macrophages.
Interaction between the fat-laden adipocytes and the macrophages, in turn, promotes a state of persistent, or chronic, inflammation that accompanies obesity.
Eventually, the chronic inflammation reduces the ability of the cells to take in and convert glucose into energy. This impairment causes insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
A combination of too much fat, rising levels of glucose, and inflammation also damages mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses in cells that make energy by burning fat and glucose.
However, after studying these various obesity-related effects in fat and immune cells from mice, the researchers found that they could treat them with cocoa shell extract.