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Long term studies needed before dark chocolate health link established – study

3 commentsBy Oliver Nieburg , 02-Jan-2012
Last updated the 02-Jan-2012 at 14:47 GMT

The flavonoid epicatechin that is present in dark chocolate could be used to treat human diseases, but studies to date have been too small and longer controlled tests are required, according to a study.

The review ‘A chocolate a day keeps the doctor away’ authored by Christopher F Barnett and Teresa De Marco at the University of California and published in the Journal of Physiology assessed several studies that linked chocolate to health benefits.

Epicatechin studies

They concluded that the likeliest component in chocolate thought to mediate beneficial effects was the flavonoid epicatechin, which is found in high concentrations in dark chocolate.

“Recent studies suggest a possible clinical role for epicatechin in the treatment of human diseases, particularly those with skeletal muscle and cardiovascular pathologies,” said the report.

The authors pointed a recent study by Nogueira et al. also at the University of California which suggested that epicatechin could improve mitochondria in mice.

However, after reports based on Nogueira study circulated in the British national press that suggested eating chocolate could improve exercise capability the UK National Health Service (NHS) issued a warning that the reports were misleading.

Another study referred to was one conducted by Katz et al. at Yale University that linked chocolate intake to improved blood pressure and better cardiovascular health.

“One could hypothesize benefits from epicatechin treatment in conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, left sided heart failure and right heart failure secondary to pulmonaryarterial hypertension (PAH),” said Barnett and De Marco.

“At this time, dark chocolate is the best studied and most reliable method to deliver epicatechin to patients,“ they said.

Inconclusive

However, they warned that further tests were needed before chocolate was seen to give health benefits.

“Though tasty, long-term chocolate consumption as a treatment for disease is impractical for many reasons including its high calorie content and possible variable composition,” they said.

They added that studies to date were small, uncontrolled and evaluated only surrogate markers for cardiovascular disease.

“Well-designed, randomized, controlled, long term studies with clinically meaningful endpoints are needed to better clarify the potential benefits of dark chocolate and epicatechin to human health,” they concluded.

3 comments (Comments are now closed)

Get Busy

They know what needs to be done. Do it.
Give us a definitive answer.

While waiting enjoy some good quality, dark as you can stand it, chocolate.

Unless, of course, you suffer from a medical condition that can be aggravated by chocolate consumption. Or take a prescription drug that may interact undesirably with chocolate.

Dark chocolate is not only a treat it's
a treatment. Chocolate, minimally processed, has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.

It only becomes a junk food when it's over processed, destroying many of the beneficial antioxidants.

It's a powerful plant based food containing hundreds of chemicals. It's time for science to verify what the ancients knew.

choclady@health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.com

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Posted by Bettye Wineland
11 January 2012 | 04h43

Test the chocolate but not the drugs

It's amazing, big pharma companies are happy to put dangerous, poisonous drugs on the market with limited study because they will make them billions of dollars. But have people eat, good quality, high flavonoid chocolate and they are all over it saying it needs more study. So we should be more afraid of a few extra calories than we are of high powered poison that in a couple of years will be proving to eat our liver, our kidneys, or God knows what else. Of course, in this country we all know that the worst thing you can be is fat. Just ask any poor high school kid with a few extra pounds.

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Posted by Terri Nesbitt
03 January 2012 | 21h51

I don't think so

Most of the study's use a low flavonoïd chocolate because of the dutching and roasting are they low in Flavonoids . There is now a chocolate on the World Market that has a minimum from 800 mg flavonoids at each 10 gram square the higest amount ever made in the industry.
Check out the Boost only 1 gram has 2100 orac ! more at this blog www.xocohealth-goodchocolateblog.com and see this video: http://youtu.be/eT6st5CRepw

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Posted by Peter Langelaar
02 January 2012 | 18h07

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