Dark Chocolate May Help With Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Dark Chocolate May Help With Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

The battle against Parkinson’s disease may be getting sweeter, with a new study underway seeking to understand if concentrated chocolate supplements could help alleviate the disease’s symptoms. A team of researchers from Dresden University of Technology, Germany, are busy conducting tests on 30 participants to further understand the benefits of phenylethylamine, a compound found in cocoa that has been linked to dopamine upregulation.

Parkinson’s disease causes a gradual loss of nerve cells and drop in levels of dopamine, eventually provoking involuntary tremors that can severely interfere with quality of life. Chocolate supplements contain as much as 85% cocoa, and the Dresden researchers hope to prove it to have non-pharmaceutical benefits for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

In the brain the compound is thought to act more as a neuromodulator than a neurotransmitter in that it binds with presynaptic vesicles and occupies the spaces that normally takes up dopamine. This causes a rise in free-circulating dopamine, which then boosts dopaminergic transmission.

In the study participants will be given 50 grams of either white chocolate, which has zero cocoa, or dark chocolate. The test will take place twice a day for one week, with the second week of the test involving other types of chocolate. This short experiment should help shed more light on the symptomatic differences between the two tests.

This experiment draws from a study published in April 2013, titled, “Contribution of β-phenethylamine, a component of chocolate and wine, to dopaminergic neurodegeneration: implications for the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease” from a team of researchers at Assam University in India, that in contrast, suggests this cocoa ingredient may actually be helping the onset of Parkinson’s disease. “As consumption of phenylethylamine enriched food items has become an addiction in modern life, our proposed mechanism is of enormous significance and impact,” the authors wrote.

Findings on the health benefits of chocolate intake for the sake of increasing phenylethylamine levels have been debatable at best, however, this compound undergoes a significant amount of degradation in the process of digestion, preventing most of it from reaching supposed therapeutic levels in the brain.

Tagged , , .

Anna is responsible for the scripting and production of video news content. Her skills as a registered nurse as well as a proven video content creator on YouTube and other social media platforms allow her to create video news reports that are engaging and easy to understand for patients.


  1. marni lutes says:

    Now i’m confused. I just read a study [described on worldhealth.net] on a study from India suggesting that new GMO’ed cocoa will shortly ‘flood the market.’ It has higher levels of a compound that causes Parkinson’s disease].
    One related point: The UK publication New Scientist insists that the free radical theory of aging is wrong- anti-oxidants DON’T help- they actually shorten life a bit. So unless you have severe Parkinson’s and are willing to take a chance, cocoa/chocolate is probably a bad idea. Till more research clears up this mess anyway…

  2. betty milner says:

    hi i have sweats i the night and in the daytime too i wonder has anybody got any cure for this terrible dose i have parkings for the last eleven yrs thanking you

  3. Alice Carter says:

    Effedra is derived from the cocoa plant. I took it years ago and in weeks I lost 20 lbs. my cholesterol was perfect and I had zero fat on my body without losing muscle mass! Then it was banned. I’m saying this because my son has Parkinson’s and I have ADD. While I was taking effedra I had no symptoms of ADD. My sons diagnosis is resent.I just think you guys should take another look at this all natural product.

  4. David L. Keller, MD (PD patient) says:

    Coffee was shown to be helpful for PD in a small study a few years ago, which suggested that coffee could be a levodopa-sparing treatment that could delay dyskinesias. Recently, a larger better study proved that hope false. So, enjoy your chocolate, but don’t count on benefits that have not been proven in a large double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Or two!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *