Scientists claim to create anti-ageing chocolate: report

‘Esthechoc’ claims to be able to boost antioxidant levels and increase circulation to prevent lines and keep skin looking youthful and smooth

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A team of scientists at a Cambridge University spin-off lab claim they have created a chocolate bar that can slow down wrinkles and sagging skin, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday.

“Esthechoc,” manufactured by biotech firm Lycotec, claims to be able to boost antioxidant levels and increase circulation to prevent lines and keep skin looking youthful and smooth, the daily reported.

“We’re using the same antioxidant that keeps goldfish gold and flamingos pink,” creator Dr. Ivan Petyaev was quoted as saying.

“In clinical trials we saw that inflammation in the skin starting to go down and the tissues began to benefit.

“We used people in their 50s and 60s and in terms of skin biomarkers we found it had brought skin back to the levels of a 20 or 30 year old. So we’ve improved the skin’s physiology.

“People using it claimed that their skin was better and we can see that the product is working to slow down ageing.”

A 7.5g bar of the anti-ageing chocolate reportedly contains the same amount of astaxanthin, an antioxidant, as a fillet of Alaskan salmon. It also contains equal levels of free-radical fighting cocoa polyphenols as 100 g of dark chocolate.

Given its low calorie count, just 38kcal, its makers say it is even safe for diabetics.

But the daily quoted health experts as cautioning about the product.

Naveed Sattar, professor of Metabolic Medicine at Glasgow University, told the daily more robust experiments were needed to substantiate the “ridiculously strong” claims made by the producers.

“There may be biological reasons to think some of the compounds may benefit some processes linked to ageing and disease but on the other hand, eating too much chocolate means more calories, which means obesity so the net effect is never clear cut,” Sattar was quoted as saying.

“These food claims need to be backed up with trials to have any genuine credibility. Such trials are glaring by their absence so all such health claims are unfounded,” Sattar said.

Nutritional experts at University College London also warned that trials in the past had showed that the antioxidant astaxanthin worked better when it was applied directly to the face rather than when ingested.

“There is a potentially sound scientific base to this although it is obviously early days,” Nutritionist Dr. George Grimble of UCL was quoted as saying.

“There needs to be further clinical trials to show that it is safe but astaxanthin has been shown to have antioxidant effects and low toxicity, so from that respect, it seems promising,” Grimble said.

“So it’s got a good track record in terms of the science but it is too early to say what the long-term benefits might be.

"In my humble opinion, it would be necessary for the company’s in-house trial to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in order for their health claims to be substantiated.”