A new study has claimed that people who are suffering from type 2 diabetes and advanced heart failure can have their conditions helped by consuming cocoa that is enriched by a flavonoid called epicatechin.
The study, which was published in the journal Clinical and Translational Science, examined profoundly ill patients with damage to their skeletal muscle mitochondria, responsible for much of the energy produced in cells. When the cells become dysfunctional due to both type 2 diabetes and heart failure, this can lead to abnormalities in skeletal muscle and impaired functional capacity, with problems such as shortness of breath and a lack of energy, and even walking for a short time.
The research on epicatechi, a flavonoid present in dark chocolate, examined participants who consumed it in bars in a drink with epicatechin content of about 100 milligram each day for a three-month period, with biopsies of skeletal muscle being carried out before and after the treatment.
At the end of the three months, the scientists examined any changes in levels of mitochondria and cristae – internal compartments of mitochondria required for the proper functioning of the mitochondria. As Francisco Villarreal, from University of California, San Diego, pointes out “The cristae had been severely damaged and decreased in quantity in these patients.”
He added “After three months, we saw recovery – cristae numbers back toward normal levels, and increases in several molecular indicators involved in new mitochondria production.”

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