Can a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink improve fatigue?

Close up photograph of a broken up bar of dark chocolate

Professor Helen Dawes

Oxford Brookes University


About the project

Our researchers are testing whether a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink can help combat fatigue in MS.

Flavonoids are thought to reduce inflammation and prevent damage caused by harmful ‘free radicals’. They’re found in lots of plant-based food, including dark chocolate with cocoa levels of over 70%. There’s evidence out there to suggest that flavonoids can help with fatigue, but there haven’t been any studies involving people with MS yet.

The trial will involve 40 people with relapsing MS. Half will get a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink, the other half will get a cocoa drink with low levels of flavonoids.

Researchers will measure the benefits of the flavonoid-rich cocoa drinks using questionnaires and walking tests. They’ll also be looking for signs of inflammation and ‘free radical’ damage in blood samples.

How will it help people with MS?

We know that people living with MS need better ways to manage their fatigue, and finding effective treatments for fatigue is one of our top 10 research priorities. We know that lots of people with MS are interested in the role diet can play in managing symptoms, but right now the evidence is lacking.

This project aims to find out if a dietary therapy – a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink – has the potential to improve fatigue in people with MS. If successful, this research could highlight a new strategy for treating fatigue and improve our understanding around the scientific testing of potential dietary therapies.

The difference you can make

You can help us to fund innovative and creative projects like this, that could provide relief for the many people that are affected by MS fatigue on a daily basis.

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Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

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