New research has suggested that a daily intake of chocolate could help to ease the debilitating Parkinson’s disease.
Low levels of dopamine in the brain are blamed for Parkinson’s symptoms like shaking - and researchers think cocoa could hold the key to less suffering.
Cocoa contains phenylethylamine - which has been proven to increase the release of vital compound.
And now researchers at Dresden University of Technology in Germany are testing whether patients are positively affected by chocolate supplements.
The 30 volunteers will be given either 50g of white chocolate - which contains no cocoa - or dark chocolate - which is 85 per cent cocoa.
After taking the supplements twice daily for a week, subjects will then be given the other type of chocolate the week after.
Once the two weeks are up, the differences in their symptoms will be compared.
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain that produces dopamine.
This compound helps to co-ordinate body movement - with low levels resulting in the shaking effect.
The latest trials at Dresden University are controversial as previous research has suggested that phenylethylamine in chocolate could actually be a cause of Parkinson’s.
Following tests at Assam University in India, researchers said: ”As consumption of phenylethylamine enriched food items has become an addiction in modern life, our proposed mechanism is of enormous significance and impact.
“Limited consumption of these foods is recommended.”
However, their tests were carried out on rodents rather than humans.
Smaller amounts of phenylethylamine are also found in wine and cheese.
Around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, according to the NHS website.
They state that there are an estimated 127,000 people in the UK with the condition.
For more information about Parkinson’s visit the NHS website.
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