Chocolate for CFS

A pilot study at Hull York Medical School found that symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome were significantly alleviated in patients when they consumed dark chocolate; this did not happen when they consumed milk chocolate that had brown dye added to it.

Team leader, Professor Steve Atkin, said that a patient had commented to him that she felt much better after eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, while milk chocolate did nothing for her. This comment got him interested in high cocoa (dark) chocolate, which led to the pilot study.

Professor Atkin and team carried out a trial with ten patients. Half of them received 45 grams per day of high cocoa content dark chocolate (not currently available to the public) while the other half received 45 grams per day of milk chocolate, which had been dyed to look like the other one. This went on for two months. Then they all had a month without any chocolate. Then another two months, eating the other type of chocolate.

It became clear to the researchers that those consuming the high cocoa content dark chocolate were experiencing a significant alleviation of their chronic fatigue symptoms. Two of the patients, who had been off work for six months, managed to get back to work.
Professor Atkins explained that polyphenols are present in large quantities in dark chocolate. Polyphenols have been linked to reductions in blood pressure, as well as other health advantages. Atkins and team believe the polyphenols are having an impact on levels of serotonin in the brain.

The researchers stressed that none of the trial participants put on any weight during the pilot study. They added that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome may derive benefit from consuming small quantities of high cocoa content dark chocolate each day.

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Ed. It sounds too good to be true - comments from ME sufferers would be welcome.


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First Published in June 2008

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