Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Offers Hope For Chocolate-Loving Reflux Disease Sufferers

Date:
May 23, 2001
Source:
University Of Michigan Health System
Summary:
For the 14 million Americans who suffer with chronic heartburn, a piece of chocolate may start as a joy to the tongue, but can end with a raging fire in the stomach. But there may be new hope for those suffering chocolate-lovers.

Atlanta - For the 14 million Americans who suffer with chronic heartburn, a piece of chocolate may start as a joy to the tongue, but can end with a raging fire in the stomach.

Related Articles


But there may be new hope for those suffering chocolate-lovers.

Results from a new study at the University of Michigan Health System, presented today at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting in Atlanta, not only reveal the mechanism by which chocolate irritates the digestive tract of those who suffer with chronic heartburn - also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD - but also suggests a novel treatment.

"We demonstrated that chocolate induces GERD symptoms by compromising the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter to prevent the stomach acids from creeping back up the esophagus," says Chung Owyang, chief of the U-M Division of Gastroenterology and professor of internal medicine in the U-M Medical School. "We also found that a medication commonly used for nausea may ease these painful symptoms," adds Owyang, the study's principal investigator.

In the study, seven GERD patients underwent a series of tests. A tube containing a pH monitor was placed in the esophagus to measure acidity. A second tube was inserted into the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, to deliver chocolate directly to the gut.

After the chocolate infusion, researchers measured the acidity in the esophagus and how long it took the acidity to rebound to normal levels. Researchers also determined the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, located at the junction between the stomach and the esophagus.

In a person who does not suffer from GERD, the sphincter acts as a valve and allows substances to go from the esophagus down to the stomach only. In GERD sufferers, the sphincter does not function properly, allowing acid and other substances in the stomach to pass back up to the esophagus.

The researchers found that chocolate significantly increased the number of reflux events and the acid exposure time in the esophagus for the seven patients.

"We found that the chocolate causes a large amount of serotonin to be released from the cells in the intestines," says Wei Ming Sun, Ph.D., research scientist, U-M Department of Internal Medicine. "The serotonin causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. The relaxation means the 'door' between the esophagus and stomach is opened and acid is allowed to flow back up to the esophagus."

After documenting the effects, patients were given granisetron - a substance commonly used to counteract nausea. Granisetron was shown in earlier U-M studies to reduce the effects of chocolate on patients who did not have GERD.

"When the patients with GERD took the granisetron, which is a serotonin blocker, there was a significant decrease in the numbers of reflux events, the acid exposure time and the acid clearance time," Owyang says.

Specifically, the chocolate caused an average of 5.4 reflux events in a 30-minute time period. After treatment with granisetron, the events were down to 3.3 in 30 minutes. Acid exposure time decreased by more than a third after granisetron, and acid clearance time decreased from an average of 8.3 minutes just after the chocolate infusion, to 5.9 minutes with granisetron.

This novel approach may provide alternative effective methods for the treatment of GERD without inhibiting normal acid secretion, which is important to digestion and control of bacterial growth.

Next, the researchers plan to conduct a double blind, multi-center trial to confirm this observation.

Other researchers on the project were: Sutep Gonlachanvit, M.D., research fellow, U-M Department of Internal Medicine; Yen H. Chen, M.D., research fellow, U-M Department of Internal Medicine; Han-Chung Lien, M.D., research fellow, U-M Department of Internal Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan Health System. "Study Offers Hope For Chocolate-Loving Reflux Disease Sufferers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010523072217.htm>.
University Of Michigan Health System. (2001, May 23). Study Offers Hope For Chocolate-Loving Reflux Disease Sufferers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010523072217.htm
University Of Michigan Health System. "Study Offers Hope For Chocolate-Loving Reflux Disease Sufferers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010523072217.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins