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Theobromine Effects on Weight Reduction, Cravings and Diabetes in GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the Obese

Effects of Theobromine on Weight Reduction

Authors: Marcus Free MD, Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi MD, Waqar Ahmad PhD, Kelly Daly RDN, and Don Juravin (Don Karl Juravin).

Abstract (Research Summary)

  • Theobromine (aka xantheose, diurobromine or 3,7-dimethylxanthine) is a methylxanthine related to caffeine and present at high levels in cocoa (Baggott 2013).
  • Theobromine elevates mood (Smit 2004). Because dieters eat more when moods are depressed (Baucom 1981), this effect is helpful in a weight loss regimen.
  • Theobromine reduces body fat percentage and fat tissue weight (Inoue 2006).
  • Theobromine potentiates the anti-obesity potential of some other weight loss drugs (Dulloo 1992).
  • Theobromine has beneficial effects in reducing insulin resistance (Latham 2014).
  • Theobromine prevents increases in albuminuria in diabetes (Papadimitriou 2015).
  • Theobromine inhibits the enzyme which is responsible for acute and chronic inflammatory pathologies like vascular complications in diabetes (Geraets 2006).
  • Theobromine may decrease the risk of proliferative retinopathy in diabetes (Skopiński 1993).

Theobromine Effects on Weight Reduction

Theobromine may have weight loss potential by enhancing other weight loss drugs and reducing body fat percentage.

  • Theobromine potentiates the anti-obesity effects of some other weight loss drugs like sympathetic stimulants (Dulloo 1992).
  • Theobromine reduces body fat percentage, fat tissue weight, serum cholesterol, and triglyceride levels after a high-fat diet (Inoue 2006).
  • Theobromine elevates mood (Smit 2004). Because dieters eat more when moods are depressed (Baucom 1981), this is extremely helpful in weight loss regimes.

Theobromine Effects on Cravings

Theobromine may reduce cravings by inhibiting the synergism between factors involved in cravings.

  • Theobromine is an adenosine antagonist. Adenosine antagonists might be effective therapeutic agents in the management of craving as they inhibit the synergism between mu and cannabinoid receptors in certain brain regions involved in craving (Yao 2006).

Theobromine Effects on Diabetes

Theobromine reduces insulin resistance and also the risk of long term complications in diabetic individuals, such as vascular, renal, and ocular complications.

  • Theobromine has beneficial effects in reducing insulin resistance (Latham 2014). Lowering insulin resistance in diabetes can help to improve glucose control.
  • Theobromine prevents increases in albuminuria and kidney collagen in diabetic individuals, resulting in a therapeutic potential for diabetic nephropathy (Papadimitriou 2015).
  • Theobromine inhibits the enzyme poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase, which is responsible for acute and chronic inflammatory pathologies like vascular complications in diabetes. Thus theobromine can prevent or reduce vascular complications of diabetes (Geraets 2006).
  • Theobromine decreases the angiogenic activity of mononuclear cells in diabetic patients, reducing the risk of proliferative retinopathy (Skopiński 1993).

Benefits, Side Effects, Drug Interactions


  • Theobromine has stimulating effects on the nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. It is beneficial in asthma, low blood pressure states, and neurodegenerative diseases (Pohanka 2015).
  • Theobromine also interacts with many neurotransmitters and chemicals and is a competitive antagonist of neurotransmitter adenosine (Pohanka 2015), resulting in central nervous system excitation, enhancement of cardiac force, and heart rate, and respiratory airways dilation.


Theobromine is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) according to FDA.

Side effects

  • Nausea and vomiting: Theobromine may cause an upset sensation in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Anxiety: Theobromine may cause anxiety because of nervous system stimulating effects.
  • Tremor in hands: Theobromine may cause a fine tremor in the hands because of nervous system stimulating effects.
  • Withdrawal headaches: In those who take high doses of Theobromine daily, cessation of consumption for a while may causes headaches only relieved by retake of Theobromine.

Drug interactions

Theobromine has no proven and known drug interactions.


  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is limited research and therefore best to avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding.


  1. Baggot, M., Childs, E., Hart, A., et al. (2013). Psychopharmacology of theobromine in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology [online], 228 (1), pp. 109-18. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-013-3021-0 [Accessed 11.05.2016].
  2. Baucom, D., Aiken, P. (1981). Effect of depressed mood on eating among obese and nonobese dieting and nondieting persons. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [online], 41 (3), pp. 577-85. Available from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/41/3/577/ [Accessed 11.05.2016].
  3. Dulloo, A., Seydoux, J., Girardier, L. (1992). Potentiation of the thermogenic antiobesity effects of ephedrine by dietary methylxanthines: adenosine antagonism or phosphodiesterase inhibition? Metabolism [online], 41 (11), pp. 1233-41. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1435297 [Accessed 09.06.2016].
  4. Geraets, L., Moonen, H., Wouters, E., et al. (2006). Caffeine metabolites are inhibitors of the nuclear enzyme poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 at physiological concentrations. Biochemistry and Pharmacology [online], 72 (7), pp. 902-10. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16870158 [Accessed 09.06.2016].
  5. Inoue, H., Kobayashi-Hattori, K., Horiuchi, Y., et al. (2006). Regulation of the body fat percentage in developmental-stage rats by methylxanthine derivatives in a high-fat diet. Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry [online], 70 (5), pp. 1134-9. Available from: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bbb/70/5/70_5_1134/_pdf [Accessed 09.06.2016].
  6. Latham, L., Hensen, Z., Minor, D. (2014). Chocolate–guilty pleasure or healthy supplement? Journal of Clinical Hypertension [online], 16 (2), pp. 101-6. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24734311 [Accessed 11.06.2016].
  7. Papadimitriou, A., Silva, K., Peixoto, E., et al. (2015). Theobromine increases NAD⁺/Sirt-1 activity and protects the kidney under diabetic conditions. American Journal of Physiology and Renal Physiology [online], 308 (3), pp. F209-25. Available from: http://ajprenal.physiology.org/content/ajprenal/308/3/F209.full.pdf [Accessed 09.06.2016].
  8. Pohanka, M. (2015). The perspective of caffeine and caffeine derived compounds in therapy. Bratislava Medical Journal [online], 116 (9), pp. 520-30. Available from: http://www.elis.sk/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=4382&category_id=118&option=com_virtuemart&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1 [Accessed 11.06.2016].
  9. Skopiński, P., Zukowska, M., Małkowska-Zwierz, W., et al. (1993). The effect of TPP, theophylline and theobromine on the angiogenic activity of mononuclear leucocytes obtained from diabetic patients with proliferative retinopathy. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica [online], 50 (4-5), pp. 409-11. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7518638 [Accessed 09.06.2016].
  10. Smit, H., Gaffan, E., Rogers, P. (2004). Methylxanthines are the psycho-pharmacologically active constituents of chocolate. Psychopharmacology [online], 176 (3-4), pp. 412-9. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-004-1898-3 [Accessed 11.05.2016]. 
  11. Yao, L., McFarland, K., Fan, P., et al. (2006). Adenosine A2a blockade prevents synergy between mu-opiate and cannabinoid CB1 receptors and eliminates heroin-seeking behavior in addicted rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA [online], 103 (20), pp. 7877-82. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1458620/ [Accessed 09.06.2016].


This research was sponsored by GLOBESITY FOUNDATION (nonprofit organization) and managed by Don Juravin. GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the obese is part of GLOBESITY FOUNDATION which helps obese with 70 to 400 lbs excess fat to adopt a healthy lifestyle and thereby achieve a healthy weight.

Tags: theobromine, weight reduction, GLOBESITY FOUNDATION, weight loss, cravings, diabetes, healthy weight

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