Health

New study reveals high-flavanol cacao could reduce fatigue in MS sufferers

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cacao comes from gently roasted cocoa beans. Pic: Confectionery News
Cacao comes from gently roasted cocoa beans. Pic: Confectionery News

Related tags: Cocoa, Health

Africa-inspired health food brand Aduna says its high flavanol Super-Cacao Powder has been used to positive effect in medical research.

A latest study into the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers¹ has revealed that high flavanol cocoa beans can have a positive effect in reducing symptoms.

Made from gently roasted cocoa beans, cacao is the purest, most natural form of chocolate. Flavanols are a plant-based antioxidant which studies show support a wide range of benefits from cardiovascular² to cognitive health³.

Researchers in the UK tested the use of flavanol-rich cacao on 40 recently diagnosed adult MS patients, who drank a cup of cocoa every day for six weeks. Participants were either given a flavanol-rich chocolate drink made with Aduna Super-Cacao Powder or a low-flavanol version.

Improvement

Dr. Shelly Coe from Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health who carried out the research said: “The participants with MS that drank a high flavanol cacao drink daily for 6 weeks experienced a 45% improvement in fatigue according to their own ratings and an 80% boost in walking speed according to results. While more studies are needed, the results indicate that consuming high flavanol cacao may show potential for helping to reduce tiredness and fatigue in the body.”

Aduna Cocoa

Due to its high flavanol content, Aduna Super-Cacao is the only cacao powder that carries a health claim approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the packaging. Consuming 20g of Super-Cacao a day (4-5 teaspoons/ 200mg cocoa flavanols) has been scientifically proven, and verified by EFSA, to support healthy blood flow, contributing to cardiovascular health and blood circulation².

Medical advice

Medical advice suggests healthy blood flow is vital for overall health, ensuring a good supply of nutrients, oxygen and water to cells and organs.

Over 100,000 people in the UK are affected by MS and 9 out of 10 patients suffer from tiredness. The feasibility trial by Dr Coe et al published in The Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry​ looked at flavonoid enriched cocoa for the treatment of MS related fatigue and showed promising results that encourage the conduction of a phase III clinical trial.  

Aduna says it also works with a smallholder producer in Ghana to source and process the Ghanaian cacao powder in its Super-Cacao blend, ensuring the additional incomes from processing the beans remains in the country.

  • Aduna Super-Cacao is available in the UK via Ocado​, Amazon​ and aduna.com​. Prices from: 100g - £5.99 ($7.93) | 200g - £8.99 ($11.91)| 275g - £9.99 ($13.23)

Studies:

¹ A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled feasibility trial of flavonoid-rich cocoa for fatigue in people with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis​. S Coe et al. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2019; https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/early/2019/01/31/jnnp-2018-319496

² European Food Safety Authority Journal 2012;10(7):2809; "EFSA Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to cocoa flavanols and maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation pursuant to Article 13 (5) of Regulation 9EC) NO 1924/2006"

³ The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance.​ Astrid Nehlig. March 2013; Benefits in Cognitive Function, Blood Pressure, and Insulin Resistance Through Cocoa Flavanol Consumption in Elderly Subjects With Mild Cognitive Impairment. The Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study. August 2012.  

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