If you’re a chocolate lover but also suffer from premature ventricular contractions, does this mean you must give up your Heaven?
Chocolate is the Eighth Wonder of the world. It’s been said that on the eighth day, God spoke, “Let there be chocolate.”
It’s a natural stress fighter and antidepressant. Learning that it can cause premature ventricular contractions is quite distressing to those who suffer from the sensation of skipped or extra heartbeats.
“Various patients who have PVC’s find that their PVC’s can be triggered by different things,” says Daniel P. Morin, MD, FACC, Director of Electrophysiology Research and Director of Cardiovascular Research for the Ochsner Health System.
“For some patients, no trigger is identified. Some people only develop premature ventricular contractions when at rest, while others develop them during exertion.
“Some patients find that PVC’s are triggered by caffeine intake (or at least they feel their PVC’s more following caffeine intake), and chocolate does contain some amount of caffeine.
“However, most studies in the general population as a whole show no correlation between the PVC frequency and caffeine (or chocolate) intake.”
Of course, there is always that possibility that the thrilling anticipation of the chocolate that you’re about to eat might set off a few premature ventricular contractions.
Is your heart skipping a few beats just LOOKING at the mesmerizing layer cake below?
If so, those would be “palpitations” of excitement, not pathology as in an arrhythmia.
So go ahead and enjoy your chocolate cake, brownies, cookies, etc., and so not worry about it making your premature ventricular contractions worse or triggering them out of nowhere.
A more potent cause of premature ventricular contractions is acute anxiety as well as chronic anxiety and stress.
If eating a bar of chocolate helps to subdue your inner demons, then go for it!
Dr. Morin’s clinical interests are in device therapy for cardiac dysfunction (including cardiac resynchronization therapy) and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias with medical therapy and/or catheter ablation.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.