Theobromine: The Surprising Facts and Benefits

If you’re someone who loves dark chocolate, then you may have already heard of “theobromine”. Theobromine was considered by the Aztecs and the Mayans as the “food for the gods” (this can be observed from the actual makeup of the word – theo = “god” and “broma” = food). Theobromine exists in cocoa products and is basically a compound in cocoa that makes it rather dense in nutrients.

Theobromine was actually originally called xantheose. It’s an alkaloid compound that comes with a bitter taste and it is commonly found in Cocoa beans, guarana beans, tea leaves, and cola nuts. It’s considered to be a stimulant, but it’s rather mild in comparison to caffeine. However, theobromine also offers many other benefits to health, which is why it’s truly becoming more and more popular these days.

How Theobromine Works

There are three main systems in the body that theobromine is helpful for: the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and the body’s waste excretion system. Theobromine does this by increasing cAMP/cyclic AMP (a messenger) activity while simultaneously blocking phosphodiesterase enzymes. As a result, cAMP (the messenger) will then activate the enzyme PKA. PKA is basically responsible for widening your blood vessels and reducing any inflammation. It’s also known to increase stimulation.

Theobromine also works to block receptors of adenosine, an act that can lead to multiple health benefits. One such example is the reduction of high blood pressure risk in the body.

The Benefits from Theobromine

If you want to know about all of the other health benefits from Theobromine, well – we’re here to help. Here’s everything that you can expect with this alkaloid compound:

Lowered BP

Because it is a vasodilator, theobromine, therefore, helps in regulating the pressure of your blood. One study was done on twenty-four women (all healthy) showed, for example, the reduction in their blood pressure roughly one hour after they took a 700mg dose of the alkaloid compound.

Stimulation for the Heart

Another study was done where there were 80 participants in good health that took a dose of somewhere in between 300 and 1000 MG of theobromine. The results showed that within 5 hours, the subjects experienced their heart rates increase, which made them more active and stimulated. Results showed roughly an increase in rate of roughly 6 beats every minute.

Healthier Teeth

A US National Library of Medicine study was published in the past showing the role that theobromine has in regulating the immune response of the body. It helps to systemically improve the concentration of intestinal antibodies in the body, and also helps in the modification of the lymphocyte composition of lymphoid tissue, in healthy and young Lewis Rates.

A study was also done on 21 patients that had asthma. It showed theobromine minimizing inflammation of the airway and in the lungs, resulting in an improved ability for breathing.

Better Quality of Sleep

Although theobromine offers stimulant effects, it will not affect the quality of your sleep like caffeine might. Theobromine , as a matter of fact, offers the opposite relaxing effect – a large contrast to how caffeine works. There was a study that was comprehensively done (M.A. Grander et al) showing that theobromine is one of the largest contributors to longer, better sleep. These results were also supported by the results of a 5,587 respondent survey of people that took 30mg of theobromine in supplement form. These participants were able to confirm their ability to sleep for longer.

Reduces Symptoms of Gout

If you have gout and you consume a moderate amount of theobromine, you’re in luck – this alkaloid compound is known for helping to reduce the symptoms of gout. It also helps to improve the circulation of your blood. Theobromine is also known to prevent the build-up of uric acid – a precursor and contributing factor to the incidence of gout.

Improves Your Levels of Healthy Cholesterol

Another published US National Library of Medicine study states that theobromine is known to help increase the levels of good cholesterol or HDL in your body. Another separate study was done on 152 people, where the results showed the benefits of theobromine when it comes to decreasing the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in your body. With a lowered LDL level, the risk of getting some coronary heart disease is significantly lessened.

Helps With Detox

As we all know, one of the most well-known effects coming from theobromine is the improvement of blood flow and the widening of blood vessels in the body. Therefore, it can also help in reducing the amount of toxins and excess fluid found in your body’s blood vessels, removing them from your body as urine. Theobromine also helps your blood in filtering and removing the toxins.

Weight Loss Benefits

Surprisingly, even though this alkaloid compound is found in cocoa and therefore in chocolate products, the fact is that theobromine offers some benefits when it comes to weight loss. In fact, this compound helps in suppressing your appetite for food, thereby helping you to reduce your weight. Because it is also a stimulant, it also helps you to remain energized for any physical activities, making it easier to exercise and shed the extra pounds.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Last but not the least, theobromine is also known to help in the reduction of cancer risk in the body . This is because it inhibits 42ERK, Ras-p44 as well as AKT, all of which are associated with the promotion of tumor formation in the body. Additionally, this alkaloid compound hinders the rapid regeneration of cells – a surefire and effective way to help the prevention and spread of tumors.

Are There Any Theobromine Side Effects?

It’s only natural to ask whether this compound will bring you any negative side effects. However, in our research and in most customer feedback and reports, the moderate consumption of theobromine is said to be safe. As long as you do not abuse this substance, you should not be facing any negative side effects. However, if taken in excess, you can expect the possibility of the following:

  • Nausea and Headaches may occur if you take in theobromine in doses of 800 – 1500 milligrams a day. Sometimes, you may also find that alongside nausea and headaches you might also experience a loss of appetite, sweating, and negative mood effects. Therefore, it is recommended to keep the daily dose below 800 milligrams as much as possible.
  • Tachycardia, or an abnormally fast heart rate, can occur from the excess consumption of this compound. This is because it is considered as a methylxanthine stimulant. Tachycardia can cost discomfort especially because the rapid heart rate can occur even when you are at rest.

Does Theobromine Negatively Interact with Other Substances?

If you are interested in taking theobromine supplements, then you should definitely find out whether there are any interactions between this compound and other supplements or medications. Caffeine as well as theobromine work to stimulate your body’s central nervous system, and as a result, you should not take these 2 things together because you will get twice the effect. Unless you are actively looking to receive this stimulant effect, avoid taking caffeine and theobromine at the same time so that you can avoid agitation, jitteriness, anxiety, alertness, and tachycardia.

For the same reason, it is best to avoid excessive stimulant intake when you plan to take these supplements. Avoid taking theobromine supplements if you are on medication for ADHD or narcolepsy, for example.

Ideal Theobromine Dosage

These days, more and more people are deciding to take supplements of Theobromine due to the many positive health benefits that it brings. For this reason, it has become more widely available in pill and capsule form. Most of these capsules come with a standard dose of anywhere from 50 to 1000 milligrams – all of which advertising zero negative side effects. However, remember that your mileage may vary, and as a result, you should do some trial and error testing to find the best dose for your individual case.

Some people, especially the ones who have already existing health problems, may find that side effects can start occurring at a dose of 800 milligrams. It is best to start at a low dose and slowly increase it to where you feel comfortable in the balance between effects and side effects.

Do know that this compound is also sold as a fine powder. This powder can be taken as is, or can be mixed with food and beverages.

Remember: If you have already existing health problems, or you are unsure whether this supplement will be beneficial for you, it is best to consult with your physician to ensure that you will not have any issues in taking theobromine. After all, your doctor will be the one who best knows your medical history and your individual case. Additionally, it is probably best to avoid the supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How Much Does Theobromine Cost?

After doing extensive research, we have found that the average cost of this alkaloid compound comes to about .33$ to .50$ for every 100 milligrams in capsules. Fine powder form theobromine appears to be more expensive, at about 20 to $24.00 for every 100 grams.


There are many health benefits offered by the alkaloid compound theobromine. Additionally, since it is 100% natural, no negative side effects are observable as long as the supplement is taken as directed within the recommended daily dose. However, for those who have sensitivities to stimulants as well as for those who have pre-existing health conditions, it is still best to consult your physician before you begin taking the supplement.

Also, because this compound naturally occurs in cocoa and cocoa products, even eating dark chocolate can help in a bind. However, for best results, and for a more consistent and convenient way to take this compound, we highly recommend using the pill or powder form instead.