Effect of Theobromine Consumption on Serum Lipoprotein Profiles in Apparently Healthy Humans with Low HDL-Cholesterol Concentrations

Doris M. Jacobs*, Lotte Smolders, Lin Yuguang, Niels de Roo, Elke A. Trautwein, John van Duynhoven, Ronald Mensink, Jogchum Plat, Velitchka V. Mihaleva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Scope: Theobromine is a major active compound in cocoa with allegedly beneficial effect on high-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-CH). We have investigated the effect of theobromine (TB) consumption on the concentrations of triglyceride (TG) and cholesterol (CH) in various lipoprotein (LP) subclasses.

Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, 44 apparently healthy women and men (age: 60 +/- 6 years, BMI: 29 +/- 3 kg/m(2)) with low baseline HDL-CH concentrations consumed a drink supplemented with 500 mg/d theobromine for 4 weeks. TG and CH concentrations in 15 LP subclasses were predicted from diffusion-edited H-1 NMR spectra of fasting serum.

Results: The LP phenotype of the subjects was characterized by low CH concentrations in the large HDL particles and high TG concentrations in large VLDL and chylomicron (CM) particles, which clearly differed from a LP phenotype of subjects with normal HDL-CH. TB only reduced CH concentrations in the LDL particles by 3.64 and 6.79%, but had no effect on TG and CH in any of the HDL, VLDL and CM subclasses.

Conclusion: TB was not effective on HDL-CH in subjects with a LP phenotype characterized by low HDL-CH and high TG in VLDL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • theobromine
  • NMR
  • lipoprotein
  • HDL
  • PLS model

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