That Twitter thread re. fatigue and hot chocolate

Note: I’ve copied and pasted this, unedited. And look, I’ve added some tags…

I have #RRMS ( Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis) One of my symptoms is fatigue. We’re not just talking about being a bit sleepy, this is full on ‘my vital signs are there but not much else/ has someone slipped me a mickey finn’ type overwhelming fatigue. It is truly horrible.It affects everything – mobility, cognition, appetite, eyesight, temperature control, muscular function etc. I need a cane if I’m outside. There are bits that I have forgotten, but that’s a ‘thing’ too. My memory is erratic! Some days are better than others. Today is ok.

I mean that I got up, had a shower, got dressed, and had a yoghurt & a coffee. That took approx 4 hours. I’m not on top form, but I don’t *think* I’ll have to have a nap. Wouldn’t rule it out though..Why am I telling you all this, Twitterpeeps? I wouldn’t normally go public like this and I don’t want to whinge, but you need context.

More context: I have a BA in Education Studies, trained as a dietitian, used to teach nutrition at @LJMUEHC , and currently don’t/can’t work.

..I clicked ‘post’ too soon. Sigh. Anyway. I AM DOING AN EXPERIMENT. N=1, ie me. Have you seen the media reports about ‘hot chocolate alleviates MS fatigue’? Those reports are based on this:

So I’m testing it out. DO you know how difficult it is to find the flavanol content of hot choc? I figured I’d have to design my own. The authors of the study used 18g of high flavanol choc powder to 200ml milk. I don’t really like milky drinks, and I don’t have a sweet tooth.

So, I bought some high flavanol cacao, and some standard water based hot choc to make the drink: see photo. Other brands are widely available. I didn’t measure the cacao, I just used a very heaped tablespoon. And stirred. And stirred.

Photograph of cacao, hot chocolate sachet, and tablespoon
I got that tablespoon from Braemar Castle, 26 years ago. They’re not having it back.

Initial observations: that’s a lot of stirring, but it did dissolve. Also, this has the potential to become v expensive. Looks ok, smells… v chocolatey!

Post drink – it tasted really nice and not too sweet. Do I feel less fatigued? I don’t know! I was having an ok day anyway. I do feel like having a little lie down, in the same way as you do after a big meal. We’ll see.

I’ll keep going for a few days – my fatigue levels fluctuate – it will be interesting to see if it makes any difference. I’m more interested in the practical side of this: will I be able to do this independently every day? My lovely husband is more of a carer than I would like.

How much would this cost in the long term? A box of 30 Wispa hot choc sachets was about £7, the cacao was about £8. I got them both from Amazon. I don’t think the cacao will last a week, never mind a month. As a personal experiment, I think it’s worth a try – if it helps, HOORAY, if not.. well: there are worse things to do. Watch this space…:-)

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