Can Chocolate Make Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue Better?
On one level, the question as to whether chocolate can make multiple sclerosis fatigue better seems like a frivolous question. Doesn’t chocolate make lots of things better? Yet on a more serious note, researchers at Oxford Brookes University are planning to take a comprehensive look at the impact of chocolate on fatigue levels among individuals who live with MS.
It’s no secret that chocolate, and specifically dark chocolate, is rich in flavonoids contained in cocoa. These flavonoids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can provide a variety of health benefits ranging from reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack to improving muscle function and benefiting individuals with cirrhosis.
But what role might dark chocolate have in helping individuals who have multiple sclerosis? The UK’s Multiple Sclerosis Society has decided to provide funds for experts at Oxford Brookes University to determine whether this favorite food can help battle the persistent, life-altering fatigue that plagues so many people with multiple sclerosis.
It’s important to note that the six-week study will involve the use of dark chocolate and not milk chocolate, which is more popular. Forty individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis will be enrolled.
Specifically, 20 volunteers will be asked to consume a hot chocolate drink rich in flavonoids (with a cocoa level of more than 70%) while another 20 will consume a hot chocolate drink with low levels of flavonoids.
According to Dr. Emma Gray, who heads the clinical trials at the MS Society, ”We are delighted to be supporting this project as it is quirky and unusual, but ultimately based on robust scientific evidence.” In addition to enjoying chocolate drinks every day for six weeks, the participants also will be required to do the following:
- Complete questionnaires about their levels of fatigue
- Participate in walking tests
- Provide blood samples that will be evaluated for signs of inflammation
- Wear accelerometers that will monitor their activity levels.
Multiple sclerosis is a challenging disease, and it requires innovative approaches to find ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat it. Could chocolate make multiple sclerosis fatigue better? Only time will tell.