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Chocolate as a nootropic (brain doping) neuropharmacological substance

  1. Aug 23, 2011 #1
    Cacao (chocolate) contains little caffeine but much theobromine, a vasodilator which increases blood flow in the brain. Cacao is also high in focus&mood-boosting phenylethylamine, an endogenous chemical which also reaches the brain from exogenous sources such as protein* but is particularly concentrated in cacao and blue-green algae. Cacao is similarly an exogenous source of the endogenous endorphinergic cannabinoid anandamide, but much more potent than its tiny dose of anandamide (the rate of endogenous production of anandamide is much higher than the rate at which anandamide is absorbed from eaten cacao) are chemicals in it that make anandamide stick around longer.** While there is little research on the effects of these individual chemicals, studies show that eating chocolate increases performance on standardized cognitive tests.***

    I define 'a substance' as "an object containing a general ratio of instances of structural formulas." 'Neuropharamcological' refers to the exactness and hypothetical predicatability with which chemicals affect the mind; it summons the sobering specter of material realism.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Two things:

    1) What is your question? :confused:

    2) Your links are not valid sources, you need to provide links to peer-reviewed research from credible sources. For example:

    Effects of chocolate consumption on enhancing cognitive performance.
    R. Drakea, D. Felbauma, C. Huntleya, A. Reeda, L. Matthewsa and B. Raudenbusha

    Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions.
    Field DT, Williams CM, Butler LT.

    Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort.
    Scholey AB, French SJ, Morris PJ, Kennedy DO, Milne AL, Haskell CF.
  4. Aug 23, 2011 #3
    Are these forums just for questions?

    Thank you for the sources ryan_m_b.
  5. Aug 23, 2011 #4


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Not just for but the vast majority of the time people are asking questions. Even if the user just wants to start a discussion about something they recently saw it's best to outline what you want from a thread. For example; If I just read some studies about how chocolate was a good cognitive enhancer I would post;

    "I recently came across these links [INSERT LINKS] that say that chocolate is a good cognitive enhancer [INSERT QUOTE]. What do people think of this?"
  6. Aug 23, 2011 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    treehouse I have to applaud the amount of effort you made this time to flesh out the subject and find sources. This attempt was so much better than a title and and one line question. I actually know what you are talking about from reading the post.

    As Ryan said, you forgot to ask a question, but all in all, I was impressed. And trying to find sources such as Ryan listed are preferred for getting correct information. Overall, well done!
  7. Aug 24, 2011 #6
    Great, chocolate is good for other things besides containing antioxidants.
  8. Aug 25, 2011 #7
    I decided to slow down on my raw cacao powder consumption after reading that alcoholics can atrophy the vasoconstrictive muscles by being on alcohol so much of the time that they are nearly always relaxed. Then when they atrophy, they are permanently vasodilated and cannot adjust their blood pressure as flexibly.

    Theobromine is a vasodilator with a half-life of six hours*, certainly long enough for me to be on it almost all the time.

    *http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/627135 http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/millward/theobromine.htm
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  9. Aug 27, 2011 #8
    I do NOT think that alcohol / ethanol in ANY way can be compared to cacao powder consumption. This is a strange and totally misleading shortcircuit thinking about the extreme and misunderstood complexity and diversity of ALL life on Earth. One cannot simply extrapolate from the biological effects of alcohol consumption onto other kinds of consumption. First of all - alcohol is a higly complex and strong SOLVENT and a dangerous POISON for almost all life forms - so we all would do extremely well by reducing and eliminating it totally as a drink from our "culture."

    What I have read about cacao consumption by humans and evidence of clear positive health effects is alot, but the information that is simplest to understand comes out of the results of some extensive research done by Harvard University Medical School in the U.S. It's the fact that the people that live on the islands off the east coast of Panama consume coupious amounts of the stuff, and they are MUCH healthier in general then their neighbours on the mainland not far away, the only difference in lifestyles being the daily consumption of cacao.

    I am very grateful and highly privileged here in Oslo, Norway, for being able to simply walk to my local food store and pick up all the "Fair Trade" packs of pure cacao powder that I want for a low price!
  10. Aug 28, 2011 #9
    They are both vasodilators. That is the only comparison I was making. Thank you for collaborating with the community.
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