Latest research: A cup of cocoa for MS fatigue

A cup of hot cocoa is the ultimate comfort drink, but could it also help fight fatigue in people living relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)?

A recent study says yes! As if we needed an excuse to drink more cocoa…

The magic ingredient: Flavonoids

Cocoa contains high levels of flavonoids, natural substances found in plant-based foods and drinks. Lots of recent research has been looking at the potential health benefits of these naturally occurring compounds, from their protective effects against conditions such as cardiovascular disease, to their antibacterial properties. The way that flavonoids work is not yet completely understood but more and more research is looking into the different ways that we can harness their powers to improve health.

Flavonoids and fatigue

In the field of multiple sclerosis (MS) research, it’s their effects on fatigue which has sparked interest in flavonoids. In a recent study, 40 people diagnosed with RRMS and fatigue were enrolled into a study and randomly allocated to one of two groups. The first was given a cocoa beverage high in flavonoids while the other group drank a beverage low in flavonoids. Participants drank their designated beverage daily for 6 weeks and their fatigue and fatigability (how fast someone gets tired) levels were measured at the start, middle and end of the study.

The results of this early stage research showed that flavonoids could have the potential to reduce both fatigue and fatigability in people with RRMS, and that introducing flavonoids through changes in diet for this purpose is possible. The researchers suggested that flavonoids could, pending further research, be used alongside other therapeutic interventions as part of a fatigue management program.

Coco for cocoa

Sounds like promising news for cocoa lovers doesn’t it? But it’s important to remember that these are early stage results and lots more research needs to be done into the benefits of flavonoids in people with RRMS, including the best way to consume them. In the meantime, it’s good to know that your evening cup of cocoa might just be helping keep you energized too.

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