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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor (MD)
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Experience:  Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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Chocolate causing Vertigo

Customer Question

My friends father went to hospital for dizziness, he was told it was vertigo and that Chocolate triggered it. I had the same problem as I traced back my last few days before the dizzy spells started and eating a large amount of DARK chocolate on a daily basis for 2 weeks as this company touted having very high anti-oxidant properties in their chocolate with Acai berry and Blueberries. That company is in denial, and I need to know where can I get printed evidence of this? I searched the net and found vague things and more about it harming dogs and horses than humans........... thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Family Physician's Post: My friend's father went to the Emergency Room and was told he had Vertigo triggered by Chocolate after he answered questions about what he had eaten, etc.
I need to confirm this same information as I had eaten this product , a Network Marketing company stating it is healthy chocolate and eat what you can afford, it won't harm you .... so I ate 4 pieces of their nuggets daily (approx. size double of a large & wide toothbrush head) that is 70% Cocao Dark Chocolate, I need to provide evidence to show the Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General, FDA, etc. that more likely than not, the chocolate triggered me to have Vertigo since there is nothing else that could have - i have no inner ear infection, i have a horrible head hurt in my spinal cord near the base of head and back of head
Expert:  Family Physician replied 8 years ago.
I don't think it is a issue with the chocolate being "defective" or really an issue about whether it is "healthy" or not.

ANY food/drug can cause problems in people who are sensitive/allergic.

The combination of vertigo and headache again are very suggestive of migraine. Chocolate, alcohol (particularly red wine), aged cheeses, MSG are all common triggers. I'm not sure that it is an issue for the FTC when a person gets a migraine after drinking a glass of red wine to wash down their cheese and crackers, before eating a meal which includes a chocolate cake.

Here are some articles on migraine and vertigo
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16522263&query_hl=6&itool=pubmed_docsum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15847010&query_hl=6&itool=pubmed_docsum
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050315/1115.html
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Family Physician's Post: when he went to the emergency room they determined he had vertigo and in answers to their questions found that he had eaten chocolate and told him it is a trigger -- that is what i strongly believe happened to me
Expert:  Family Physician replied 8 years ago.
OK, I don't disagree - I think that the chocolate triggered the migraine that was the cause of the vertigo.

Migraine is often misdiagnosed and/or underdiagnosed. The SYMPTOM in this case I think was the vertigo, the condition or the cause was a migraine - which was likely triggered by one of the common triggers for migraine - chocolate.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Family Physician's Post: Okay that is great but I need something more definitive and in writing; like in publication that there is a definite link between chocolate triggering vertigo and migraines. Thank you
Expert:  Family Physician replied 8 years ago.
There are NO studies showing a direct link between chocolate and vertigo. There are two studies (placebo controlled trials) that address the issue of chocolate causing migraine. The one says it does, the other says it doesn't

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1860135&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=9453274&query_hl=4&itool=pubmed_docsum

I guess I'm still confused about your purpose - If you are looking for a medical explaination of your symptoms - I think I have provided a logical explanation. Chocolate causes migraine and the migraine had as one of its symptoms vertigo. (A cuses B and B causes C...therefore A caused C)

If you are looking to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer because you got a migraine from eating chocolate - I don't think you have much of a case (I'm not a lawyer - and if you want to head that direction, I would direct you to legal advice - not medical. What can be "proved" in court has very little to do with evidence based medicine)

Did you suffer a permanent disability or injury from the incident?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Family Physician's Post: Hello, thank you for you good info. and I understand what you are saying, but yes, today i had bouts of dizziness and continue to have severe pain in the back part of my head, the ball part. I cannot think clearly and just feel so horrible.
Expert:  Family Physician replied 8 years ago.
I would recommend that you speak with your physician, discuss the diagnosis of migraine headaches, and see if he/she would treat you with a medication such as Imitrex.

Migraine does tend to last for days in some people once it gets started. The mechanism of migraine include some feedback loops which tend to cause prolonged symptoms when it is not treated quickly
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Family Physician's Post: I know the chocolate triggered the vertigo and i continue to have dizzy spells. I will not take any prescription drugs as I do not believe in them. I just want to know why the hospital told this elderly man that tracing his past few days, he ate chocolate , and they determined chocolate caused his vertigo -- this is all I am looking for as supportive documentation. I've found some vague things online which do state certain foods trigger. Thank you any way.

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