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Theobromine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage and Supplements

By August 30, 2019September 2nd, 2019No Comments


Theobromine is a xanthine that is similar to Caffeine, however it is not as potent as a stimulant. It can act as a vasodilator, and is found in Cocoa Bean Extract.

Uses of Theobromine

Theobromine, while potentially effective for energy, is not as popular as another well known xanthin, this xanthine being Caffeine. With that said, they are both similar in structure/effects.

You’ll find Theobromine in Cocoa products, as it is a natural source of Theobromine. With that said, it is often paired with Caffeine, due to the fact that they compliment each other and are similar compounds. There is a study, where 24 subjects (women) took a combination of  700mg of Theobromine, combined with Caffeine at 120mg. This study showed that alone, Theobromine was able to lower blood pressure, and when combined with Caffeine, an ingredient known to constrict blood flow, blood pressure was unaffected. 

Now one of the most sought after benefits from Theobromine is that is has been shown to be beneficial for energy, as it is similar to Caffeine. One thing to mention however, is that it does not appear as if Theobromine affects your sleep like Caffeine does, which is a good thing. 

According to a study, Theobromine enriched cocoa was shown to be effective in terms of lowering blood pressure when compared to placebo and non-enriched cocoa. This study was done on 42 people with high blood pressure. 

Another double-blind study showed that Theobromine may be good for raising HDL (the good cholesterol) levels in the blood. This study used different strengths of cocoa on the 152 participants, and it showed that is most likely the main ingredient responsible for the blood lipid benefits.

Theobromine may also be beneficial for blood sugar levels. According to a study, dark chocolate, which has a high concentration of Theobromine, was compared to white chocolate, which has virtually no Theobromine. The study showed that dark chocolate was better for reducing blood pressure, as well as improving insulin sensitivity in healthy humans. 

Interactions with Theobromine

You’ll find Theobromine in a variety of products, ranging from pre-workouts, fat burners, to pump products. As mentioned above, you’ll commonly find Theobromine paired with Caffeine, which we went into above. It must also be noted, that if you see a Cocoa Extract product, it is usually a way to market Theobromine. You can find plenty of Cocoa Extract products as standalones on the market.

In fat burners, you’ll find Theobromine paired with ingredients such as Grains of Paradise, Synephrine, GBB, and Yohimbine.

In pre-workouts, you’ll find it paired with ingredients such as Beta-Alanine, Betaine Anhydrous, and Taurine.

In pump products, you’ll find it paired with ingredients such as L-Citrulline, Agmatine Sulfate, Nitrosigine, and S7.

Side Effects with Theobromine

Side effects associated with Theobromine include constipation, anxiety, headaches, intestinal discomfort, among other side effects. 

It must be noted, that dogs do not metabolize Theobromine very well, and large doses can be fatal. We’re sure you’ve heard how “dogs can’t eat chocolate”, well the reason for that is the Theobromine content of chocolate. 

Recommended Dose of Theobromine

Theobromine can be beneficial at small doses, as low as 20mg up to 700mg. Like Caffeine, it is a very personal ingredient and it can come down to tolerance. Anything 700mg may cause nausea in some. 

Recommended Products with Theobromine

The following products contain Theobromine at the recommended dosage, and are recommended supplements for Fitness Informant:

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