Sunday, February 01, 2009

Chocolate may be Beneficial for Chronic Fatigue

Dr. Steven Horvitz- Reading between the Lines:
Bringing you healthcare information you can trust!
February 1, 2009
Article from Natural News- Thursday, January 29, 2009 by: Sheryl Walters, citizen journalist
(NaturalNews) Regularly consuming chocolate could be beneficial to those with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a study at Hull York Medical School. People who suffered with the illness found that they had more energy when they consumed high cocoa content.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness that has a vast array of diverse symptoms; the primary one being exhaustion. Most chronic fatigue specialists advise their clients to avoid chocolate because of the caffeine and sugar it contains.

Professor Steve Atkin, who led the study, said he had clients who reported feeling much better after swapping normal milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content. This sparked him to investigate further.

The trial consisted of 10 patients who received 45g of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate everyday for two months. After the month was over, they avoided chocolate for one month and then began taking the other type of chocolate for two months.

When the patients were taking a daily dose of dark chocolate, they reported significantly less fatigue, but felt the fatigue return when they stopped eating it.

Atkin was surprised at what good results were achieved. "Although it was a small study, two patients went back to work after being off for six months."

He explained: "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."
Although more research was needed to confirm the findings, Atkin said that patients would not do themselves any harm by eating small amounts of dark chocolate. He added that no one in the study put on any weight.

Chronic fatigue is a very complex illness with many different causes including food intolerances, Candida, heavy metals and parasites. There is no single cure that works for everyone, and most people require quite a few lifestyle changes along with herbs, nutrients and detoxing.
Because of this, chronic fatigue specialists warn against believing that eating chocolate daily is going to completely solve the problem.

Most importantly, consuming chocolate with sugar in it should be generally avoided by everyone, especially those with a disabling illness.

Raw Chocolate

While dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and other nutrients, raw chocolate is even more potent since none of the nutrients have been destroyed through heating and processing. Further, raw chocolate is sugar free. Most people make raw chocolate with agave nectar, stevia or xylitol. All of these are fine in moderation for those with chronic fatigue syndrome because they don`t create blood sugar imbalances and they don`t feed the imbalances like sugar does.

OK everyone.
First I write about breakfast shakes and now I bring you information about the benefits of chocolate. What's next? Maybe telling you that eating lots of protein and fat is healthy. In many cases it is, but that is not the purpose of today's newsletter, which is CHOCOLATE.
When reviewing a patient's diet history, chocolate almost always plays a part, and not one that most want to give up. I have also been known to rummage through the rooms in my office looking for chocolate to "give me a lift".
So should we be excited that this new research allows more chocolate in your diet?
The answer is Yes and No.

Anecdotally, many of us feel more energetic and/or get a "mood lift" when we eat chocolate. So, Yes, if this research is correct, then eating darker, minimally processed chocolate may help with chronic fatigue. So if a chocolate craving occurs, look for the chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage. These are usually the darker variety.

And, No, please do not go and start eating the normal heavily processed milk chocolate that contains more sugar and "fake fat" and that carries other risks. To be fair, this study contained only 10 people, which does not meet criteria for a valid population based study. But I am sure if they want to enroll more volunteers for a future study, that I could fill the group with my practice alone. But get in line behind me, because I am first!!
I would like to thank everyone who read my previous newsletter and sent in their breakfast shake recipes. These recipes are now posted on my website.
Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness

No comments:

Post a Comment