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Chocolate has garnered a good deal of publicity lately for its benefits on heart health. More good news: Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego School of Medicine believe this confection may also help your muscles function better.
In a small study of people with advanced heart failure and type 2 diabetes, scientists found that consuming dark chocolate helped repair mitochondria, the cell structures that pump out the energy muscles need to do their work. In particular, the muscles were producing new mitochondria and new cristae, mitochondrial compartments necessary for efficient function.
“The cristae had been severely damaged and decreased in quantity in these patients,” said one of the senior investigators, Francisco J. Villarreal, MD, PhD of UC San Diego’s Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology. “After three months, we saw recovery – cristae numbers back toward normal levels, and increases in several molecular indicators involved in new mitochondria production.”