Hull study shows chocolate with high cocoa content may ease symptoms of CFS

From the Daily Telegraph, 24 November 2010 (Story by medical editor Rebecca Smith)

Dark chocolate is rich in chemicals known to increase signals carried around the brain but this is thought to be the first time the confection has been found to help symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Researchers from the University of Hull and the Hull York Medical School tested ten patients with a severe form of the disease.

They ate dark chocolate for eight weeks, followed by a break and then another variety with little cocoa but which tasted the same.

They were asked to eat 15g three times a day and not make any other changes to their diet.

The results were published in Nutrition Journal.

They reported significant improvement in their wellbeing.

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.”

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by extreme, persistent fatigue for six months or more with other problems with as muscle pain, headaches and poor memory.

There is debate in the medical community about whether it is a distinct condition from myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME affects around 250,000 people in Britain.

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