The study “A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled feasibility trial of flavonoid-rich cocoa for fatigue in people with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis” was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Fatigue is experienced by 90% of people with MS and, despite many approaches for fatigue management, exercise shows signs of being the most effective. However, even exercise has its limitations, and beneficial strategies are needed.
Dark chocolate containing 70 to 85% cocoa solids has shown success in improving fatigue in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. A small trial showed that consumption of flavonoid rich dark cocoa for a short term increased sleep quality and reduced fatigue in people with MS.
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant found in several plant-based foods, such as dark chocolate (which has more than 70 percent cocoa levels), and have been linked with improved heart and gut health, and increased longevity.
The impact of flavonoids on fatigue in RRMS patients, however, remains poorly characterized.
A team led by researchers at Oxford Brookes University, U.K., evaluated whether daily consumption of flavonoid-rich pure cocoa can reduce fatigue in RRMS patients. The study was funded by the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society).
The team performed a randomized, placebo-controlled trial (ISRCTN69897291) that enrolled 40 people — 10 men and 30 women, mean age of 44 years — recently diagnosed with RRMS and fatigue. Participants were randomized to have a high (19 patients) or low (21 patients) flavonoid cocoa beverage daily for six weeks.
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