Theobromine: Molecule Monday Facts

What is Theobromine?

Theobromine is often recognized as the prominent molecule present in chocolate. Structurally it is very similar to  that of caffeine as it differs only by replacing a hydrogen with a methyl group. It is classified as a methylxanthine, meaning it acts as a bronchodilator and can also stimulate heart rate, force of contraction and can cause cardiac arrhythmias at high concentrations.

Theobromine the Stimulant

Cacao tree fruits (Theobroma cacao)
Theobroma cacao  tree with several fruits.

Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa. It can also be found in small amounts in the kola nut, the guarana berry, Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate), and the tea plant. It has similar affects as caffeine but is about 10 times weaker. It has diuretic, stimulant and relaxing effects, and can also lower blood pressure because it dilates blood vessels.

Its name comes from the Greek word ‘theo’ meaning ‘god’, and ‘broma’, meaning food, making Theobromine the ‘food of the Gods’, which actually makes sense considering how delicious it tastes.

Is Theobromine addictive, because I swear I am addicted to chocolate…

Even though theobromine is a weak stimulant, it can increase pulse rate. Withdrawal has been found to cause migraines. The level of Theobromine in commercial chocolate varies from bar to bar. Milk chocolate bars contain the lowest levels, much less than dark chocolate. Therefore, theobromine alone is unlikely to be responsible for chocolate craving.

Theobromine “Chocolate” Molecule

Theobromine Molecule
Theobromine, a stimulant similar in structure to caffeine but found in chocolate.

To view the molecule and or see how to build it, check out the molecule page here: Theobromine Stimulant Structure.

You can also build any molecule using our Molecular Model Builder .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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