Chocolate reduces effect of chronic fatigue syndrome, study finds

Researchers from the University of Hull and the Hull York Medical School have found dark chocolate has a significant effect on reducing the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Professor Stephen AtkinThe research, published today in Nutrition Journal, found that polyphenol rich chocolate eases the condition, with subjects noting significant improvements to their well-being. Chocolate is known to increase neurotransmitters like phenyl ethylamine, serotonin, and anandamide in the brain, but this is the first time that polyphenol rich chocolate in people with CFS has been studied. Subjects with CFS

having severe fatigue of at least 10 out of 11 on Chalder Fatigue Scale were enrolled on the pilot study. Participants were given one of two types of chocolate, one with a high cocoa content and the other without. Over an eight week period the volunteers consumed one type of chocolate followed by a two week wash out period and then another eight weeks of eating the other variety. The dark chocolate contained 85% cocoa solids with the alternative containing none. Each individual bar weighed 15g with each volunteer expected to eat three per day, and also told not to consume more or make changes to their diet.Researchers also noted the weight of subject did not significantly alter despite consuming an extra 245 calories per day for two months. Professor Steve Atkin who led the study says: “The significance of the results is particularly surprising because of the small number of subjects in the study. A further study is needed to see what the effects would be on a larger group of people, but this is potentially very encouraging news for those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” This latest finding follows recent research also carried out at the University of Hull and the Hull York Medical School where dark chocolate was found to help reduce the risk of heart attacks in people with Type 2 diabetes by increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the blood stream. About the

Study; Ten patients (six females and four males) took part in the study and were suffering from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome based on the Chalder Scale.There was concern that it would have been possible to tell the difference between the two types of chocolate. A blind taste study was carried out before the trial to show the subjects would not be able to tell any difference between taste and appearance to avoid bias. About Professor Stephen Atkin. Prof Stephen Atkin is the Head of Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Hull’s Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGMI). He has a BSc Biochemistry and MD from Newcastle University. Prof Atkin completed a PhD at Liverpool University where he was also an MRC training fellow. He was appointed in October 2005 as Professor of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Hull York Medical School (HYMS). He is based and leads the pharmaceutical and nutritional clinical trials teams for these studies at the Clinical Research Centre based at the Michael White Diabetes Centre at Hull Royal Infirmary. The laboratory focusing on molecular and a cellular research is based within the medical research unit at the University of Hull.Translational clinical trials for both the food and pharmaceutical industry are a major focus of the work undertaken and part of the overall research portfolio on modulation of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk in these conditions that are associated with a high morbidity and mortality.  Claire Mulley News from: University of Hull

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