Exercise is a major problem for people with heart trouble and diabetes. Doctors say you need to be more active…but these conditions make it nearly impossible. That’s because these people have damaged “fuel cells.”
These “fuel cells” are known as mitochondria. And diseases can make them fail. It can impair your ability to be mobile by affecting your skeletal muscle. The result is shortness of breath, lack of energy, and not being able to walk short distances.
That’s why the new results published in the journal Clinical and Translational Science are so important. The study shows that one flavonoid can actually power up the “fuel cells” in people with diabetes and heart disease. And if it works on people with those problems, it should help healthy people too.
The study comes from Dr. Pam R. Taub. She’s an assistant professor of medicine at UC San Diego.
Dr. Taub says they saw “promising restorative effects” on mitochondria “using inexpensive and safe” products.
Improvement in 3 Months
The flavonoid is called epicatechin. Dr. Taub used epicatechin-enriched cocoa to fuel mitochondria.
The patients ate dark chocolate bars and a beverage to get 100 mg per day of epicatechin.
Dr. Taub gave them skeletal muscle biopsies before and after the treatment. After three months, she saw a major recovery.
She specifically looked at cristae, which are parts of mitochondria that help them function. She says “the cristae had been severely damaged and decreased in these patients.”
But that all changed after eating cocoa. “Cristae numbers (went) back toward normal levels,” says Dr. Taub. She also saw indications of “new mitochondria production.”
These aren’t just initial results either. Previous studies show epicatechin improves skeletal and heart muscle function. And Dr. Taub will soon be leading a new clinical trial comparing epicatechin-rich chocolate with placebo.
Power Up “Fuel Cells” Today
You can start by eating small amounts of dark chocolate. It contains more cocoa than other chocolate. And it usually doesn’t undergo a manufacturing process that destroys half of the flavonoids. Most research says 1.6 ounces of dark chocolate each day is good for you.
Another option is to buy 100 percent cocoa powder. You can add it to your drinks.
Epicatechin is also found in teas and some fruit. And you can even get it in supplement form. Look for “raw cacao” that’s available in capsules. You can find these online or in some health stores.
When Dr. Taub makes her new research public, we’ll update you on the latest results.