For a long time dark chocolate was considered as a mild relief to patients who suffered from diarrhea. But, until now, no one knew exactly why the cocoa bean appeared to be a remedy. Researchers have found that cocoa beans contain a large amount of chemicals called flavonoids, which can be used to create natural supplements to ease diarrhoea symptoms by limiting the development of fluids that cause diarrhea.

For more than a year, scientists tested cocoa extract and flavonoids in cell cultures that mimic the lining of the intestine. They found that cocoa flavonoids can bind to and inhibit a protein in the intestines called CFTR which regulates fluid secretion in the small intestines. All of the cultures reported lower fluid levels.

Patients with diarrhea can lose dangerous amounts of fluids. Children younger than the age of five and the elderly are the most likely to develop health problems if their condition leads to dehydration.

This study represents first evidence that fluid loss by the intestine can be prevented by cocoa flavonoids. The discovery may as well lead to the development of natural treatments that are inexpensive, easy to access and are unlikely to have side effects, some of the researchers reported.