A clinical trial at the University of California, San Diego, revealed a new benefit of dark chocolate. Five people with type 2 diabetes and advanced heart failure had the mitochondria in their muscles measured before and after three months of consuming dark chocolate enriched with epicatechin, one of the flavonoids found in cacao. The beverage and chocolate bars the volunteers were given provided 100 mg of epicatechin daily. After three months, the muscle mitochondria, the energy factories of cells, had recovered nearly to normal levels. Encouraged by these findings, the researchers are beginning a larger placebo-controlled study to see if exercise capacity also improves after treatment with epicatechin-enriched chocolate.
[Clinical and Translational Science, March 2, 2012]