High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome

T. Sathyapalan, S. Beckett, A.S. Rigby, D.D. Mellor, S.L. Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Chocolate is rich in flavonoids that have been shown to be of benefit in disparate conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The effect of polyphenol rich chocolate in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has not been studied previously.

Methods
We conducted a double blinded, randomised, clinical pilot crossover study comparing high cocoa liquor/polyphenol rich chocolate (HCL/PR) in comparison to simulated iso-calorific chocolate (cocoa liquor free/low polyphenols(CLF/LP)) on fatigue and residual function in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome. Subjects with CFS having severe fatigue of at least 10 out of 11 on the Chalder Fatigue Scale were enrolled. Subjects had either 8 weeks of intervention in the form of HCL/PR or CLF/LP, with a 2 week wash out period followed by 8 weeks of intervention with the other chocolate.

Results
Ten subjects were enrolled in the study. The Chalder Fatigue Scale score improved significantly after 8 weeks of the HCL/PR chocolate arm [median (range) Exact Sig. (2-tailed)] [33 (25 - 38) vs. 21.5 (6 - 35) 0.01], but that deteriorated significantly when subjects were given simulated iso-calorific chocolate (CLF/CP) [ 28.5 (17 - 20) vs. 34.5 (13-26) 0.03]. The residual function, as assessed by the London Handicap scale, also improved significantly after the HCL/PR arm [0.49 (0.33 - 0.62) vs. 0.64 (0.44 - 0.83) 0.01] and deteriorated after iso-calorific chocolate [00.44 (0.43 - 0.68) vs. 0.36 (0.33 - 0.62)0.03]. Likewise the Hospital Anxiety and Depression score also improved after the HCL/PR arm, but deteriorated after CLF/CP. Mean weight remained unchanged throughout the trial.

Conclusion
This study suggests that HCL/PR chocolate may improve symptoms in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalNutrition Journal
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

© 2010 Sathyapalan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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