The Best Morning Energy Boost: Caffeine or Theobromine?

The Best Morning Energy Boost: Caffeine or Theobromine?

Imagine: it’s another Monday, and you stayed up longer than normal over the weekend, succumbing to another Netflix binge. You have a long day ahead of you, and you need long-lasting energy to get through your day. Your first thought is to grab that cup of coffee at Starbucks or that Monster at the local gas station, but you wish that energy could last longer than a few hours. Then there’s also  the reality of enduring the inevitable jitters, increased anxiety, and crash. What if we told you that there was an easy solution to your dilemma without those side effects? Too good to be true? We’ll let you in on the secret. There is another compound very similar to caffeine out there which has similar energetic effects, but doesn’t have those negative side effects. This compound is called theobromine. Let’s take a closer look at some questions you might have: the differences between caffeine and theobromine, where they originate from, and more. 

Where do these compounds come from?

While caffeine can be found in the cocoa bean, it is primarily found in the coffee bean, certain leaves, seeds, and certain fruits from plants; caffeine can even be made synthetically nowadays! Coffee was first introduced to England in 1657 and ever since then has become a staple morning item in many’s routine because of how it uses adrenaline as energy.  Ever since scientists first extracted caffeine from the coffee bean in 1821, caffeine has been steadily incorporated into the energy and soda drinks we know and love today. 

Derived from the cocoa bean, Theobromine is a bitter, alkaloid naturally found in cocoa and chocolate. Doctors found this compound in the 1840’s which also manifests in tea leaves and kola nuts. Instead of fatiguing your adrenal glands, theobromine creates energy in our bodies by increasing the blood flow, which gives us that alert and awake feeling.  For a more in-depth history of the cacao bean, read our article on how this famous bean began to bless our taste buds! 

A yellow cacao pod sit on top of a pile of cacao beans.

Effects on the body

Both theobromine and caffeine have stimulating effects on the body, but they work in slightly different ways. Caffeine is a stronger stimulant that acts quickly and  stimulates the brain improving mental alertness and physical performance, but its effects only last for a significantly short amount of time. Caffeine can offer strong immediate effects through the use of adrenaline, but because it creates such a strong reaction the withdrawals can be difficult to manage. Such withdrawal symptoms often manifest as drowsiness, headaches, and irritability which makes caffeine a shorter-term band-aid instead of a long-term solution.  

Theobromine is a mild stimulant that is slower to act and has a longer-lasting effect than caffeine. It stimulates the central nervous system and can improve focus and alertness. While it provides the same benefits as caffeine, it doesn’t negatively impact your mood—so, no added anxiety, tenseness, or nervousness. What more could we ask for? Well, the benefits don’t end here, theobromine also does not have the same addictive properties as caffeine does which means there are no withdrawal symptoms and no crashing at the end of the day! Also because it is a gentle stimulant, you can rely on it for a steady stream of natural energy on a daily basis. 

A mom and her young daughter do cobra pose in the nursery.

How much should I have?

For caffeine, experts say that no one should have more than four cups of coffee a day but even smaller amounts of caffeine can bring on unwanted side effects because caffeine is so potent. On the other hand, theobromine is generally considered to be less potent than caffeine and is generally consumed in lower doses which is good because this is one of the reasons that we can get all the benefits from theobromine without experiencing the negative effects that we would get from caffeine. A typical serving of cocoa or chocolate contains about 60-100 milligrams of theobromine, while a typical serving of coffee contains about 80-100 milligrams of caffeine.

When would I see side effects?

While both theobromine and caffeine can cause side effects when consumed in large amounts, including jitters, insomnia, and digestive issues, this is a more frequent occurrence with caffeine as it is a more potent compound. Theobromine is actually a lot less likely to cause side effects because you need much more of it than caffeine to see any negative effects. In order to see these negative effects you would have to consistently consume 1,000 milligrams of theobromine, which is the equivalent of 1.5 pounds of milk chocolate. 

How can I incorporate theobromine into my diet?

In order to get  enough theobromine to  give you the benefits, it would take eating several ounces of dark chocolate on a daily basis which, although fun sometimes, may not be the most practical answer. So, we have a better solution for you. Our Organic Cacao + Morning Mushroom drink is just what the adrenal glands ordered: a soothing, yet effective way to incorporate that so-needed morning energy! Add our cacao mushroom powder to a warm cup of milk or water, or in your morning smoothie to get the major health benefits, the delicious chocolate-y taste, AND the non-jittery, stimulating energy to start your day—that’s killing three birds with one stone (or we should say, “with one mug”). Making our mug also means that you don’t have to do the math of how much theobromine because we’ve measured a safe yet effective dose just for you! 

Not only does our cacao mushroom powder drink have the energetic benefits that come from theobromine, but our blend includes various mushrooms that contain significant health benefits. The mushrooms we use contain nutrients that help with depression, fatigue, eye health, indigestions, and more. To learn more about how our blend could improve your health, read about these amazing super foods!

A bag of Daybreak cacao is being held against a desert background.

The breakdown

While theobromine and caffeine both produce similar positive effects of feeling energized and more productive, when people consume caffeine, they are more likely to see negative effects such as increased anxiety, stress, jitters, and the inevitable crash afterward. Theobromine can give you the same positive energetic effects as caffeine, but it is a steadier burn which eliminates the issues you would see with caffeine.

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