A daily dose of specially-formulated dark chocolate may help cut chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.
Patients in a pilot study at Hull York Medical School found they experienced less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as ME, has a diverse number of symptoms but is characterised by profound muscle fatigue after physical exertion.
Study leader Professor Steve Atkin said the idea for this study came after a patient reported feeling much better after replacing her regular milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content. He decided to find out if other patients would also benefit. He carried out a trial of 10 patients who received every day 45 grams of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate, for a period of two months.
Those taking dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue and reported feeling more fatigue when they stopped eating it. "Although it was a small study, two patients went back to work after being off for six months."
Prof. Atkin explains: "Dark chocolate is high in polyphenols, which have been associated with health benefits such as a reduction in blood pressure. "Also high polyphenols appear to improve levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked with chronic fatigue syndrome and that may be a mechanism." He added that although more research was needed to confirm the findings, patients would not do themselves any harm by eating small amounts of dark chocolate and no-one in the study put on any weight.
Source: BBC Health
Azarius references: Cacao complex