A researcher of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Norman Hollenberng investigated the effects of epicatechin in several hundreds of elderly people belonging to various cultures, as well as the Kuna people of Panama. The Kuna people drink about forty cups of cocoa on an average every week, and the rates of diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and stroke among these people are less than ten percent. They also live longer than other inhabitants of Panama. Even dementia is much lesser among these people. Most Kuna people agreed that this is the only drink for them all through life.
Dr. Hollenburg is of the opinion that this cocoa chemical would be of benefit to other populations too, but agrees that there could be some ethnic differences. Epicatechin, is a type of flavonoid which is also found in teas, chocolate, vegetables and fruits. It has plenty of antioxidant properties which could help prevent cancer.
He added that his investigations are so noteworthy, and that epicatechin should be included as an essential in the diet and should be classified as a vitamin.
However, the Vice President of Scientific Affairs of Natural Products Association, Daniel Fabricant, has mentioned that this connection between consumption of Epicatechin and decrease in lethal diseases needs further investigations for confirmation.