Daily consumption of the drink could be a convenient and safe way to alleviate the tiredness that affects 90% of people with multiple sclerosis, say the researchers.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis refers to a potentially disabling condition of the spinal cord and the brain i.e. the central nervous system.
In this disease, the immune system starts attacking the protective sheath covering the nerve fibers called myelin. It also causes a communication problem between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease causes the nerves to deteriorate. It may even cause it to become permanently damaged.
The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary widely and mostly depend on the extent of nerve damage. It is also dependent on which types of nerves get damaged in the process. Some people with severe forms of multiple sclerosis can even lose their ability to walk independently.
Some people suffering from this disease may even suffer from longer periods of remission without developing any new symptoms.
At present, there is no definite cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are many treatments that help speed up the recovery from attacks and modify the course of the disease by managing the symptoms.
The Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis can affect different people in an entirely different manner. The signs and symptoms mainly depend on the location of the fibers that get affected during this process. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Weakness or numbness in one or more limbs. This typically occurs at one side of your body at a time, or the trunks and the legs.
- Partial or a complete visual loss, usually one-sided at one time. The sufferer also experiences pain when they move their eyes.
- The prolonged double vision problem
- Pain or tingling sensation in different parts of your body
- A lack of coordination, tremors, or unsteadiness in gait
- Electric-shock likes feeling that occurs with certain neck movements. These sensations are particularly seen when you bend your neck forward i.e. Lhermitte sign.
- Slurring of speech
- Problems with bladder and bowel function
New Research about Multiple Sclerosis
Flavonoids, also known as a type of antioxidants present in red wine, vegetables, and fruit have been previously shown to exert anti-inflammatory properties. These agents also possess certain properties that minimize the damage coming from free radicals.
Research has linked the intake of these flavonoids to a multitude of benefits such as improved heart health, better gut health, and increased longevity. Moreover, studies that involve chronic fatigue have indicated that consuming dark chocolate can also increase the energy levels in people.
In the case of the current study, the lead author Paolo Ragonese from the University of Palermo in Italy along with his team selected 40 patients. These patients were diagnosed with cases of multiple sclerosis. Some participants were given a cup of cocoa rich in flavonoids. In contrast, the rest of the people were given a low-flavonoid version of the same drink. This continued every single day for a total duration of six weeks.
As present in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, people who consumed a high-flavonoid drink were found to have a 45% improvement in their alertness levels. In addition to this, there was an 80% increase in their walking speed as compared to the people provided with a low-flavonoid drink.
The researchers also found that people who drank a flavonoid-rich drink reported a decrease in their pain symptoms.
Ragonese says that this study includes dietary interventions that may offer long-term benefits for fatigue management.
Using dietary approaches to tackle fatigue and other related factors in people suffering from multiple sclerosis can be a safe, easy, and a cost-effective way to increase your quality of life as well as independence. This can allow the people suffering from this disease to be in more control of their problem.