Chocolate & Blueberries– Good Medicine for Bifidobacteria

I have written in the past about the benefits of chocolate [2012], [2014], and it’s time to update with a deeper summary of the benefits.

  • High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome [2010]

  • From Chocolate, gut microbiota, and human health (2013)
    • In all these studies, IBS subjects had lower numbers of Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, and a higher number of Clostridia. The potential effect of chocolate, therefore, as shown in Tzounis et al. could be evident in this case since it led to the increase in the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli population and a reduction in Clostridia. Roberfroid et al. (2010)”
    • “This result supports the findings of the previous study in which an increase in the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli was observed due to consuming a drink that is rich in cocoa. (Duda-Chodak, 2012).”
    • “In animals, the effect of cocoa was investigated on rat gut microbiota and the results were similar to that on human gut microbiota (Massot-Cladera et al., 2012)…As in the study that was conducted by Tzounis et al., this group found a significant decrease in Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Staphylococcus species in the faeces of rats that were on a cocoa diet.   “
  • “In humans, whole grain cereals can modify fecal bacterial profiles, increasing relative numbers of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Polyphenol-rich chocolate and certain fruits have also been shown to increase fecal bifidobacteria. ” [2012]
  • ” Chocolate containing the polydextrose (PDX) blend also significantly increased faecal lactobacilli (P = 0.00 001) after the 6 weeks. The PDX blend also showed significant increases in faecal propionate and butyrate (P = 0.002 and 0.006, respectively).” [2010]
    • BUT polydextrose alone resulted in a “decreases in the faecal Lactobacillus-Enterococcus group were demonstrated.” [2012]
  • “Colonic Bifidobacterium spp. and/or Lactobacillus spp. were higher in potato fiber and potato-resistant starch diets than in the cellulose diet” [2012]
  • “Enterobacteriaceae or lactobacilli during the study period in subjects consuming 0:10 sucrose:lactitol but there was a significant increase (P = 0.017) in bifidobacteria…Subjects consumed 25 g tablets of milk chocolate containing 10 g sweetener as sucrose:lactitol in ratios of 10:0, 5:5 or 0:10 daily for 7 d.” [2007]
  • “Bifidobacterial levels increased significantly upon ingestion of both the low (9.78+/-0.29 log(10) cells/g faeces, P<0.05) and the high inulin dose (9.79+/-0.38 log(10) cells/g faeces, P=0.05) compared to placebo (9.64+/-0.23 log(10) cells/g faeces)….a chocolate drink containing placebo (maltodextrin, 8 g/day), 5 g/day inulin and 8 g/day inulin for a 2-week treatment period.” [2007]
  • “Dark chocolate reduced the urinary excretion of the stress hormone cortisol and catecholamines and partially normalized stress-related differences in energy metabolism (glycine, citrate, trans-aconitate, proline, beta-alanine) and gut microbial activities (hippurate and p-cresol sulfate). The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 g of dark chocolate during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of free living and healthy human subjects, as per variation of both host and gut microbial metabolism.” [2009]



Bottom Line

Dosages is simple 2-3 oz per day of 85% dark chocolate. A glass of blueberry juice (instead of orange juice???).

Expectation: slow gradual reduction of symptoms over 6 weeks (not an overnight change).

Caution: Because the change is slow and gradual, you may forget how you were 6 weeks ago and conclude that it did nothing….  Take notes and measurements of where you are at the start…. so you don’t stop a good things because of memory challenges.

See also: Food to Increase Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus