Can a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink improve fatigue?
Lead researcher: Professor Helen Dawes
Based at: Oxford Brookes University
Grant we awarded: £69,991
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.
What happens in this project?
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.
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