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Do your work outs need a boost??

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Do your work outs need a boost??


I know that I have talked a LOT about chocolate and how good it is for you, primarily dark chocolate, and despite my sweet tooth for milk chocolate, I think that any science telling me to eat chocolate, is good science!  But there is a new study from the University of California, San Diego looking at the benefits of boosting your ability to exercise.  Eat chocolate and get a better workout? Count me in.  

How does this work?
Cacao's main ingredient is epicatechin, which is a flavanoid that is thought to help with all of the positive effects of dark chocolate (like lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress).  And in these studies, sedentary, middle aged male mice were made to work out daily and half were given the purified form of epicatechin twice a day and the other half were just fed water.  Their workouts were watched and studied, to see which mice were able to work out longer and, based on level of baseline cardiovascular shape they were in.  So some mice were encouraged to walk on the treadmill, some at a faster pace of longer timeframe, and some for really very little exercise at all.

What was found?
After 15 days of this treatment, the mice were given a treadmill test. The mice that were more sedentary yet given two doses of epicatechin were far superior to the other mice in working out; they had higher stamina at a faster pace, while being less "in shape" than the other mice.  The researchers biopsied the back leg muscles of the animals and what they found was kind of amazing.  The muscles of the mice that had taken the epicatechin had new capillaries growing in their muscles (small blood vessels) so they had more blood and more energy to their muscles than the mice without it. The mice with eipcatechin created mitochondria, and mitochondria are structures in the cells that produce energy; the more mitochondria a muscle has, the less fatigue it will have and the healthier it is.  That is truly amazing!

How will this translate to humans?
Well they are now going to study the effects on humans, but it is presumed that 5grams (one half a square) of dark chocolate a day will have these effects on the muscles in the body, and it is also hypothesized that the muscles actually have receptors for the epicatechin, but eating too much can undo the effects that occur.  Epicatechin is present in chocolate with the least amount of processing; milk chocolate has very little (if any) of the flavanoid.

While it is still being studied, it is still a cool thing to try to see if it boosts the energy in your workouts, but stick to the purest dark chocolate you can and only to 5grams a day.  See if it makes a difference, and let me know if you can workout harder and longer!

Yours in Good Health!
B


2 Comments:

At August 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM , Anonymous Treating Scoliosis said...

Well that's a study that I'm sure many people will like to see. Even though there have been many studies supporting the benefits of dark chocolate you can't go overboard. Everything in moderation!

 
At August 15, 2011 at 9:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I don't want to promote another site on YOUR site, but I'd love your take on mytavin.com from a nurse's perspective because I think this is a huge missing link in health. Mytavin is an online calculator that shows how medications deplete the body of important vitamins. It's kind of a hot topic right now in the world of health, and I didn't know what your thoughts were on the topic, but I'd love your feedback.

 

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