Best supplements, vitamins and nutraceuticals for Multiple Sclerosis (MS): the scientific evidence on Cocoa and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Cocoa is a fascinating foodstuffs consumed for thousands of years and even referred to as 'The Food of the Gods'.


Cocoa actually has many health promoting properties such as:

  • rich in polyphenol-flavonoids 
  • low in fat, sugar and salt 
  • can even affect brain function through neurotransmitters 


Very interestingly the famous Aztec Emperor, who was born 1480, has been recorded as saying: 'The divine drink (cocoa), which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits man to walk for a whole day without food'.


Indeed, the The Badianus Codex (or The Badianus Manuscript) is an Aztec book of herbal medicine that was presented to the viceroy of New Spain's son in 1552. This book noted the use of cocoa flowers to treat fatigue.


However, at Phytaphix we are interested in science, not just stories!

Studies have reported that consumption of polyphenol-flavonoid rich cocoa improved energy, less mental and physical fatigue, improved physical function and decreased anxiety/depression in:


But what about MS?

Is cocoa an effective for the nutritional treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?


Researchers at the Oxford University Functional Food Centre in the United Kingdom tested this exact idea:


In their first study, a group of people with MS fasted overnight and then consumed either:

a high flavonoid cocoa drink (350 mg gallic acid equivalents {GAE}/g)


a low flavonoid cocoa control (120 mg GAE/g),


The people with MS rated their fatigue on a scale, completed a 6 minute walking test and wore an activity monitor for 24 hours after consuming the cocoa. 

On another occasion, the exact same protocol was repeated with the exact same people with MS, except this time they consumed the other cocoa drink they.


The researchers reported that 'A moderate effect was found in self-reported fatigue throughout the day in favour of the high flavonoid group'. In other words, consuming just one serving a cocoa high in flavonols was able to decrease fatigue in persons with MS!


In addition, the researchers measured the blood sugar responses and found that after consuming the high flavonoid cocoa that blood sugars were actually lower - imagine that lower blood sugars after consuming cocoa (high flavonoid cocoa!)


This was a small study with only 12 subjects with MS but this study had a very strong scientific design - it was a double blinded, randomised, clinical crossover study comparing polyphenol-flavonoid rich cocoa to low polyphenol-flavonoid cocoa.


This means the 12 subjects in this study either consumed polyphenol-flavonoid rich cocoa one morning and then consumed low polyphenol-flavonoid cocoa on another morning - or vice versa. 


The cocoa products looked and tasted the exact same and had the same amount of energy (calories).


The same researchers from the Oxford University Functional Food Centre tested the idea again in a more detailed study:


6 weeks of polyphenol-flavonoid rich cocoa lead to significant improvements in fatigue and physical function in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Those who consumed the polyphenol-flavonoid rich cocoa could walk 35 metres further in 6 minutes.


In this 6 week study, the MS participants consumed the cocoa with rice milk, except for one person with consumed it with almond milk.


In addition to cocoa, other supplements which are scientifically demonstrated to improve ME include:



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