We like compounds and ingredients that can make us more energized and supply us with a range of benefits, so when we hear of caffeine in items like coffee and theobromine in products such as chocolate, there are some comparisons we can make between the two.
As lovely as some chocolate and caffeine are to consume and to feel the benefits shortly afterward, there may be possible side effects when consuming a high amount, whether in whole or supplement form. So it is a good idea to be aware of these to have a healthy lifestyle.
Below you can find what theobromine is, where you can find it, and the possible health benefits and adverse side effects you could encounter if too much is consumed.
What Is Theobromine In Simple Terms?
To break it down, theobromine is the principal alkaloid found in the cacao plant and can be extracted from the beans of the plant
It has a bitter taste and often comes in powder, as it can come in a white or colorless form, but some commercial examples can be yellowish.
The chemical is often used to synthesize caffeine and used as an additive in manufacturing foods, and many chocolate-based beverages and foods are an example of this, and interestingly are found in cosmetics such as some ointments and skin oils.
You can find this compound in chocolate, matcha green tea, coffee, kola nuts, cola, and energy drinks, and can be found in tablet or powder forms in supplements and can be seen as a better alternative to caffeine as its ten times weaker and is a natural way to boost energy.
Benefits Of Theobromine
Can Lower Blood Pressure
Because the compound widens the blood vessels and stimulates urination, it has been significant in lowering blood pressure levels, which can be achieved with 700mg that can take effect within one hour.
While this all sounds good, there isn’t sufficient evidence from studies on people with noticeably high blood pressure to see the therapeutic effects, and it may affect people differently based on factors such as diet, sensitivity, and other health conditions that may be affected by it.
Keeps You From Getting Tired
Theobromine Is in the same class as stimulants as caffeine, except you don’t get sudden spikes and lowering of energy levels so that it can give you a natural, longer-lasting, and relaxed type of energy; however, its effects could be longer-lasting.
If taken in higher amounts than what you can find in chocolate, it can have a half-life of 10 hours, but the main benefit here is that your energy levels don’t crash as much as they would for caffeine, so moderation is an essential factor here.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Because theobromine has antioxidant capabilities, this can help to lower oxidative stress down to a cellular level, which can help with any pain, swelling, or ulcers that can develop in many different parts of the body.
It has also been linked to the benefit of relaxing muscle tissue throughout the body, so it could help increase airflow to the lungs, which could help with coughs and maintain certain respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Can Improve Mood
It can stimulate the brain to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter known to give feelings of motivation and pleasure. Because using the compound gives you this boost naturally, this is a good reason why many people may turn to supplements to get more of this.
If you get your theobromine from chocolate, it may provide euphoric feelings and anti-depressive effects, but this comforting effect may have more to do with the unique combination of chemicals found in chocolate, one of those being phenylethylamine.
Negative Effects Of Theobromine
Can Cause Sleeplessness
This is especially the case if you consume high amounts of dark chocolate, and this influx of energy can cause restlessness and could lead to sleep issues such as insomnia, although some people have claimed that it aids their sleep.
High amounts can also cause palpitations and increase heart rate, and if you are consuming this daily, the effects may no longer become beneficial, and this can be made worse by contributing to heart damage or may worsen your condition if you have an underlying condition.
Might Affect Anxiety
This is made possible by consuming dark chocolate or supplements, as your body becomes used to consuming them, and as chocolate contains sugar and caffeine, the drop-off can worsen anxiety disorders and lower mood as your serotonin levels decrease.
You can still consume chocolate as long as you limit how much of the dark variety you have and go for the low sugar and caffeine options if you can, as issues such as panic attacks may be more likely if you suffer from them, which is best limited as much as possible.
Linked To Other Symptoms
High doses of the molecule can cause other side effects, including sweating, loss of appetite, digestive problems, trembling, headaches, and nausea, which can all impact how you go about your day.
This could have an impact on dehydration, as the high amounts of chocolate or supplements you consume can spike your caffeine levels so that you won’t have the strength or stamina you’re used to, making you thirstier.
How To Consume Theobromine Safely
There’s nothing wrong with consuming chocolate in moderate amounts, and you should treat it like you would with something like wine, which can give you some antioxidants which can help in the long run for issues such as heart disease and cancer.
Below are some ways that you can manage your lifestyle and diet, and perhaps you could find ways in which you can boost your mood and energy without the use of theobromine in any form it comes in.
Boost Your Energy In Natural Ways
Many foods can naturally boost your energy and be a healthier alternative, so an example of these includes oatmeal, bananas, sesame seeds, cinnamon, beans, lentils, dates, brown rice, avocados, eggs, and sweet potatoes.
The key here is to have a balance of sugar levels and eat foods that have the right amount of protein and healthy fats, you want to avoid foods that are high in sugar, as we have seen, can cause energy levels to spike and crash.
Of course, we’re not saying you have to cut out chocolate entirely or throw out those supplements, but as long as you see the need to take tablets for an issue such as a deficiency, you should be aiming for a daily amount between 250-500mg.
Consider Changing Aspects Of Your Lifestyle
There are many factors of your lifestyle that you may overlook, and things such as exercise, weight, diet, and alcohol consumption can affect your energy levels considerably, so try to make some swaps and see if there are any changes.
Many people turn to theobromine supplements as a means to lose weight, and while they can help many, in some cases, they can help control your appetite and support metabolic health. They may assist with impulse control, but these effects haven’t been proven in reliable studies.
You might find these simple changes can give you the natural energy boost you need, and while there are a few benefits of theobromine, some of these might only be for the short-term and may not fully rectify any issues that the supplement is known for assisting with.
Speak To A Nutritionist
If you can, you could consult with your health practitioner and see if you can get support and recommendations from a nutritionist if your weight presents a significant problem for you, and you will have access to workouts and meal plans that are significant to you.
If you really feel the need to take supplements, be sure to read the label and follow any advice that comes with your supplements, and if you have any sensitivities or develop any symptoms after prolonged use, you should stop taking them immediately.
This is particularly relevant for those who may be mixing these with other supplements, which is generally advised against as some people may use these as replacements for meals and sources of vitamins and minerals.
The Bottom Line
With supplements, there are upsides and downsides, but as long as you do your own research first and only consume amounts that are right for your body, people may react differently to these.
There is also worth consuming some chocolate every so often, as you get a small amount that doesn’t lead to toxicity, and some chocolate as an evening treat can work wonders to help you unwind in some circumstances, as a few blocks might be what you only need.
By getting your lifestyle under control, you can consume theobromine safely, and eventually, you may not have any need for them in the long term, which can be an encouraging sign that you are living a healthy lifestyle.
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