Cup of cocoa can help to reduce fatigue in MS sufferers, says study
A cup of cocoa may help curb the fatigue that is typically associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study.
The findings on the benefits of the simple and tasty drink will be of interest to many of the 9,000 people with MS in Ireland.
The small trial, published in the 'Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry', suggests that cocoa, like dark chocolate, is rich in flavonoids - substances found abundantly in fruit and vegetables and associated with anti-inflammatory properties.
The cocoa which had an effect was a high flavonoid version rather than low flavonoid. Some 40 people with MS participated.
After six weeks there was a small improvement in fatigue in 11 of those drinking high flavonoid cocoa compared with eight of those drinking the low flavonoid version. Those drinking the high flavonoid version showed a 45pc improvement in subjectively assessed fatigue and an 80pc improvement in walking speed.
Although not objectively measured, pain symptoms also improved more in the high flavonoid group.
The research, led by Oxford Brookes University, in the UK, said if the findings are confirmed in larger studies, it may offer a simple dietary approach to a and hard to treat symptom, which affects nine out of 10 people with MS.