So eating a daily dose of dark chocolate will cure ME/CFS sufferers?

Well, it does if you believe some of the coverage of the incredibly limited research carried out at Hull York Medical School.

The research team found that patients in a pilot study had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown. Describing the results as “surprising”, the team said dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin.

I’m not exactly surprised or even cheered by the research.

I’m with Heather Walker, of Action for ME, who has responded to the research by saying: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if eating chocolate every day could alleviate the symptoms of chronic illness?

“If it were that easy, there would not be 250,000 people in the UK today whose lives are being been devastated by ME.”

Along with other groups, such as The ME Association, Action for ME has been calling for properly funded and significant research into this debilitating condition for years.

ME/CFS impacts on a sizable section of the population, yet is very much the poor relation in terms of research, understanding and treatment when compared with some more “media-friendly” conditions.

I do have a vested interest. My wife is a CFS sufferer and we’re both incredibly frustrated by the lack of detailed and serious research into this condition.

Stories like this one about dark chocolate do not help. This research may have secured some national headlines for the research team, but it hardly adds anything to the (albeit very limited) debate surrounding ME/CFS.

The research merely suggests a way in which sufferers might ease some of the chronic pain they have to cope with on a daily basis.

Where is the research into what actually causes this chronic pain?

Without understanding what causes so many people to suffer from this condition, there is no hope of any worthwhile treatment.

My wife and the 250,000 others in this country, along with the millions of sufferers worldwide, deserve a hell of a lot more.

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5 responses »

  1. Rachel M says:

    I feel people start listening when healthy people start voicing the issues surrounding ME/CFS. Especially when it comes from journalist.
    Thank you for your post. And thank you for looking after RachelCreative. 😉

  2. Karl says:

    I agree about the need for research. In the meantime, I’m willing to try dark chocolate. Do you know exactly which chocolate and the dosage?

  3. Paul Groves says:

    Karl: The study suggests a daily dose of 45g of any dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content. If you want some informed comment on this try http://www.foggyfriends.org.

  4. Here’s a really informative article about chocolate and it’s benefits/dangers for CFs sufferers http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/ID/3464/

    It explains some of the science theory behind the chocolate idea – and also looks at why it might not live up to the hype. There is also a theory that it could in fact lead to migraines, IBS or even CFS for some people intolerant to some of it’s chemical compounds.

  5. Richiebox says:

    “There is also a theory that it could in fact lead to migraines, IBS or even CFS for some people intolerant to some of it’s chemical compounds”

    Chocolate cannot give u CFS.

    Unfortunately the above article is as irresponsible as the ones it is attacking.
    Speaking as someone who rehabillitated himself from the depths of ME and went on to do a job he loved and work out at the gym several times a week. ME is not caused by any one thing, and so cannot be succesfully treated by any one thing. I believe a multitude of physical stresses conspire to force the body’s white flag. And so we must adopt a multitude of efforts to fight towards it’s recovery.

    Two squares of Dark chocolate 80% cocoa or above will not cure ME but it can possibly contribute to it’s improvement along with a medley of other foods:
    High intakes of good quality essential fatty acids, b vitimins, garlic, cayenne pepper, ample supplementation of amino acids including those which act as secretagogues for HGH release, as many uncooked fruit n veg as possible, avoidance of fried foods and of white starchy and processed foods.
    And when improving, the introduction of light and gently progressive ressistance excercise.

    The cure – Complete lifestyle and dietry management, and an unyielding will. And listen to no one who says you cannot be healthy again.

    Never stop fighting, never stop learning.

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