Sunday, October 28, 2007

More Good News About Dark Chocolate

We have written much about the good effects of dark, high cocoa content chocolates in the prevention of heart disease. There seems to be so much good in dark chocolates. They have anti-oxidant properties, are vasodilators, lowers LDL-C and may also have mild anti-thrombotic properties.

In a small pilot study undertaken by Prof Arkins of Hull York Medical School, dark, high cocoa content chocolates seem to be able to relieve patients suffering from the "chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)" or otherwise called "myalgic encephalopathy (ME) ". When I looked up this syndrome, it was rather vague as a disease, but obviously, there are many subjects or general public out there who have chronic fatigue and muscle tiredness, that prompts employees or even managers to take medical leave as they could no longer perform their duties.

I am certain that at some point in time, we have all felt so weak and so tired, that we just wanted to rest and sleep. Well, this will appear to be reasonable, if these fatigue syndrome occurs once in awhile. But when it occurs daily over months (at least six months or more), then it becomes a medical problems. There are few signs to find. Sometimes enlarge lymphnodes are found, and sometime even muscle weakness after some casual exercise.

Before anyone think that these people are loonies [ED: or slackers], they even have an association with a website [ED: So does the flat earth society]. So some have done studies to try and find some help for these patients. Prof Arkins found that in 10 subjects given double blind doses of dark chocolates containing 45gms of cocoa, the 10 subjects seem to perform better whenever they were on the dark chocolate and they seem to return back to fatigue when they were on the placebo dark chocolates.

The study is small in numbers, but the number of patients who improved were very encouraging. Could it be the polyphenols in the cocoa, or the serotonin like substances, we do not know, but this is surely interesting. It may be that simply the two types of chocolate used taste different since different chocolates are fermented differently (just like wine) and end up tasting different.

Before I forget, do not rush to buy dark chocolates just yet. Much more studies needs to be done, and never to forget that eating chocolates, be it the light or dark variety, they all come with a significant amount of calories. Weight gain, with all the attendant risks and dangers should always be remembered. Will dark chocolates help or harm. Well, we may have to wait and see.

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