So you already know that you probably get small doses of theobromine fairly regularly because it’s found in chocolate. You also know that the levels of theobromine in chocolate aren’t exactly high enough to qualify as actual supplementation so you need to make sure you’re taking something lab-formulated that has healthy levels of theobromine in order to see real benefits.
Unfortunately, as is the case with many foreign supplements we try to put in to our body, an increase in theobromine levels often results in some adverse side effects, at least in the short term. None of the theobromine side effects are too serious and all of them can be treated or prevented. Most people only suffer from theobromine side effects early on in supplementation and after a couple of weeks, their body adjusts and no longer feels the unpleasantness.
Common Theobromine Side Effects
- Nausea – Definitely the most common side effect of all the ones we’ve talked about. Nausea seems to pop up in 90% of the supplements we talk about in this blog. Nausea tends to occur when your body is being subjected to something it’s not used to. With theobromine, though it is not an unsafe substance, your body understands it’s also not something naturally occurring and tries to reject it. Once your system understands the new theobromine levels are here to stay, the nausea wears away and subsides entirely. To help prevent the nausea, work your way up to a full dose of theobromine rather than jumping right in with both feet.
- Loss of Appetite[i] – This one isn’t surprising since the most common side effect is nausea. You’d think that a loss of appetite goes and in hand and it does. If you are to slowly work your way up the scale in daily dosing, the loss of appetite might still stay even if the nausea doesn’t. The difference? It’s easy to force yourself to eat a little if you’re not hungry while it’s hard to force yourself to eat a little if you’re not hungry and feel sick.
- Headaches – Nearly as ubiquitous as upset stomach and nausea when it comes to foreign supplementation. Theobromine is particularly effective at causing unwanted headaches during the early stages of supplementation. As a psyche altering substance, this doesn’t really come as a surprise. When your body experiences unexpected chemical imbalances in the brain, headaches often occur. Simply take an over the counter headache relief medication to stop or prevent theobromine induced headaches!
- Negative Mood Changes[ii] – Not nearly as common as the first three side effects but common enough that it needs to be mentioned, negative mood changes are not rare and should be expected. Not all users experience negative mood changes but it’s best to avoid hanging out with people that already grind your gears so that you don’t bite their heads off over something you’d otherwise let slide. Irritability not unlike the same kind that can be caused from a lack of sleep is what you should expect. The negative mood changes typically last for just a couple of weeks, until your body adjusts so don’t be alarmed.
[i] Noonan, S C, and G P Savage. “Oxalate Content of Foods and Its Effect on Humans.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 1999, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24393738.
[ii] Baggott, Matthew J., et al. “Psychopharmacology of Theobromine in Healthy Volunteers.” Psychopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3672386/.