Dark chocolate can help people walk: Study

Peripheral artery disease patients' walking ability could be helped by eating dark chocolate, claim researchers

Researchers claim that dark chocolate could improve the walking ability of peripheral artery disease patients.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association by Loffrendo et al. attributed the effect to dark chocolate’s high polyphenol content.

Peripheral arterial disease is when plaque builds up in arteries carrying blood to the head, organs and limbs. It commonly occurs in the legs, causing pain and hampering walking ability. Over 20% of adults over 70 are affected by the disease.

Walking improvement

Under the study, 20 peripheral artery disease patients with a mean age of 69 were assigned either a 40 g of milk chocolate (35% cocoa) or dark chocolate (85% cocoa).

The patients’ max walking distance and walking time was assessed by a tread mill test before and after eating the chocolate. Researchers also measured flow‐mediated dilation and blood activity.

Milk chocolate ineffective

“In PAD patients dark but not milk chocolate acutely improves walking autonomy with a mechanism possibly related to an oxidative stress‐mediated mechanism involving NOX2 (nitrogen oxide) regulation.”

“The different effect of dark and milk chocolate on walking autonomy supports the hypothesis that polyphenol content may be responsible for this effect, because dark chocolate is richer in polyphenol compared to milk chocolate.”

Polyphenol levels

The researchers found a total of 799 mg/L of polyphenols in dark chocolate compared to 296 mg/L in milks chocolate. Epicatchein levels were found to be around three times greater in dark chocolate.

The researchers found that the concentration of polyphenols in dark chocolate was relatively similar to that found the patients’ blood after dark chocolate ingestion.

J Am Heart Assoc. 2014; 3: e001072
doi: 10.1161/​JAHA.114.001072
‘Dark Chocolate Acutely Improves Walking Autonomy in Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease’
Authors:  Loffrendo et al.

Related News

Stacking up: Health ties and rising incomes prompt 9% yearly surge in dark chocolate sales up to 2019

Power of the dark side: Technavio reveals forecasts and growth drivers for global dark chocolate market

Cocoa polyphenols promote growth of good bacteria in the stomach, say researchers

Bacteria behind dark chocolate’s health benefits - researchers

Cocoa flavanol research paying dividends for dark chocolate? Photo credit: Flickr - Chocolate Reviews

Dark chocolate grows US popularity on health image

Standard of proof for an FDA health claim still lacking, but getting closer, says NCA

US cocoa flavanol health claim nears but ‘not quite there yet’

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.