Chocolate and Exercise

(-)-EPICATECHIN ENHANCES FATIGUE RESISTANCE AND OXIDATIVE CAPACITY IN MOUSE MUSCLE. [Don’t know why they had to put it all caps.]

Nogueira L, Ramirez-Sanchez I, Perkins GA, Murphy A, Taub PR, Ceballos G, Villarreal FJ, Hogan MC, Malek MH.
Source

University of California, San Diego;
Abstract

The flavanol (-)-epicatechin, a component of cacao (cocoa), has been shown to have multiple health benefits in humans. Using one year old male mice we examined the effects of 15 days of (-)-epicatechin treatment and regular exercise on: 1) exercise performance; 2) muscle fatigue; 3) capillarity; and 4) mitochondrial biogenesis in mouse hindlimb and heart muscles. Twenty-five male mice (C57BL/6N) were randomized into four groups: 1) water; 2) water-exercise (W Ex); 3) (-)- epicatechin ((-)-Epi); and 4) (-)-epicatechin-exercise ((-)-Epi Ex). Animals received 1 mg•kg 1 of (-)-epicatechin or water (vehicle) via oral gavage (twice daily). Exercise groups underwent 15 days of treadmill exercise. Significant increases in treadmill performance (≈50%) and enhanced in situ muscle fatigue resistance (≈30%) were observed with (-)-epicatechin. Component of oxidative phosphorylation complexes, mitofilin, porin, and Tfam as well as mitochondrial volume and cristae abundance were significantly higher with (-)-epicatechin treatment for hindlimb and cardiac muscles than exercise alone. In addition, there were significant increases in skeletal muscle capillarity. The combination of (-)-epicatechin and exercise resulted in further increases in oxidative phosphorylation complexes proteins, mitofilin, porin, and capillarity than (-)-epicatechin alone. These findings indicate that (-)-epicatechin alone or in combination with exercise induces an integrated response that includes structural and metabolic changes in skeletal and cardiac muscles resulting in greater endurance capacity. These results, therefore, warrant the further evaluation of the underlying mechanism of action of (-)-epicatechin and its potential clinical application as an exercise mimetic.

According to the NY Times:

And even for those who adore dark chocolate, there is a catch. “A very small amount is probably enough,” Dr. Villarreal said. Extrapolating from his group’s mouse data, he said, five grams of dark chocolate daily, or just a sixth of an ounce — about half of one square of a typical chocolate bar — is probably a reasonable human dose if your aim is to intensify the effects of a workout.

This amount more or less jibes with an earlier post on a study that found that 20g every three days was just the right amount.

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