If you’ve ever consumed a piece of dark chocolate only to feel your mood and happiness increase, you may have been experiencing the effects of theobromine. This alkaloid compound is most notably found in the cacao plant and is structurally similar to caffeine [1]. Despite the similarities, there are subtle differences between the compounds.

Compared with caffeine, theobromine is less stimulating and does not routine improve mood [2], but other benefits for the brain may include enhanced blood flow and oxygenation to the brain in addition to long-term antioxidant properties [3].

The best way to consume more theobromine is through cocoa powder (to include bioflavonoids), but you can find theobromine powder for sale alone or in combination with other ingredients.

Also Known As

Xantheose, theobroma,

Editors’ Thoughts on Theobromine

I have never taken theobromine by itself, but I’m a big fan of the substances’ properties. This may sound like an advertisement, but when I created the formulation for 1-2-Go I wanted to use theobromine to enhance the combination of caffeine + L-theanine which was already well established and studied.

Turns out, theobromine is a vasodilator (blood vessel widener) and caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (blood vessel constrictor) and that’s provided me with a huge help. I used to have issues with freezing cold hands and feet (didn’t help they were sweaty in cold environments), but the theobromine definitely helped.

It might also be useful for anyone who experiences the same from caffeine alone (though I would recommend starting with L-theanine as a pairing).

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor


Benefits of Theobromine

The benefits of theobromine are not the same as caffeine despite the two compounds being structurally similar [4]. Many of the benefits of theobromine are related to blood flow around the body. For one thing, it is a vasodilator (blood vessel widener) [5], which pairs well (and perhaps nature intended it this way) with caffeine (a vasoconstrictor). This has effects for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, and hypertension.

However, this also has an impact on the brain as blood flow to the brain is an important marker for cognition. Studies show that daily caffeine usage can restrict blood flow to the brain and reduces gray matter [6]. Many nootropic compounds work by improving blood flow and oxygenation and theobromine is within this class of substances.

There are anti-inflammatory benefits of theobromine as well, which may again be the opposite of caffeine. Some studies suggest that theobromine also reduces oxidative stress at the cellular level [7].

Although there is far more research on caffeine, theobromine is a sister chemical compound with many benefits some of which negate the less desirable aspects of caffeine.

Side Effects of Theobromine

There are few recorded side effects of theobromine in humans and one of the bigger dangers is for dogs and other mammals. While some animals might be at risk when consuming theobromine, assuming you are a human, you will not!

There are many studies showing the theobromine safety profile for humans [8]. If you are using theobromine for antioxidant and heart related issues, keep in mind that it is an adenosine agonist, which might make it stimulating for some. Do not take this before bed.

Theobromine Dosage

The theobromine dosage is not well studied (compared to caffeine), but the existing literature looks at doses of 200 – 400 mg on the low end [9] all the way up to 1,000 mg on the higher end [10].

It may be a good idea to start with 2 – 400 mg and then increase as needed. Be careful not to consume theobromine too late or else stimulatory properties may influence your sleep quality.

How and Where to Buy Theobromine

One of the best ways to buy theobromine is in the form of chocolate. If you purchase a dark form of chocolate, you will have not only theobromine, but also the many cocoa flavonoids that can help to reduce oxidative stress and support longevity.

However, if dark chocolate isn’t enticing enough (or you want to find just the right quantity of theobromine), there are ways to purchase theobromine online. One trustworthy brand is found here.

You can also utilize the 1-2-Go product, which has caffeine, L-theanine, and theobromine in it. Also, Qualia is another product that has theobromine included (in part 2).

Selected Community Experiences

Thing about theobromine is extremely mild compared to, caffeine and seems to last quite a bit longer. So I play with the dose of what I think would be most effective for my body. I found 15 grams of cocoa is the sweetspot.” [11] – BeatChemist

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  • Theobromine can be an excellent vasodilator and final element in an effective stimulant stack. Be careful when dosing along with other vasodilators, or with cyclical vasoconstrictors. The combination of the extended stim effect, combined with sequential “constrict, then dilate” cycles can result in secondary issues that subtract from the desired performance enhancement. //

    • Mansal Denton

      Very good point, Mark. Thanks for sharing and it is true. While it can be useful, it should be taken mindfully.