Theobroma Cacoa as a Dietary Supplement

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A recent study by the International Headache Society raised interest in Theobroma Cacoa as an ingredient beneficial for preventing migraine headaches. As marketers use this research to promote dietary supplement products, information about the appropriate use of T. Cacoa is important to understand before beginning a supplement regimen.

Theobroma Cacoa is the botanical name for the cocoa tree, which is used to produce chocolate. Cocoa as a supplement may also be referred to as cocoa oleum, cocoa seed, cocoa semen, cocoa testae, theobroma, theobroma sativum, or theobromine.

The first question is regarding the most appropriate dosage for benefit. The study reported by the International Headache Society was actually perfored on laboratory rats, so information about the dosage used would likely not relate well to human usage. In other studies of Theobroma Cacoa, 150-250 milligrams was used in studies of platelet function, which may possibly correlate with the reduction of inflammatory response seen with the migraine study.

The majority of the dietary supplemental products found online have between 500-600 milligrams per capsule. To eliminate any reactions with other ingredients, look for 100% Pure Cacao. The term “cocoa” indicates a more processed product with lower amounts of the beneficial ingredients. It may also be best to look for a product listed as organic, as pesticide use is prominent among cocoa farmers.

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The second question is one of safety. Who should not use Theobroma cacoa as a supplement? Consuming cocoa appears to be safe for most people, however there are contraindications to using the product, including:

* Pregnancy and lactation
* History of anxiety attacks
* Acid reflux disease
* Diabetes
* Arrhythmia (rapid heartbeat)
* Scheduled surgery (can thin blood, making surgery unsafe)

There are also a number of medications that may interact with the cocoa, and combinations of the two could be dangerous. These medications include:

* Adenosine (Adenocard)
* Clozapine (Clozaril)
* Dipyradamole (Persantine)
* Ergotamine (Ergomar)
* Estrogens
* Lithium
* Medications for asthma (Beta-adrenergic agonists)
* Mediations for depression (MAOIs)
* Medications for diabetes
* Phenylpropanolamine
* Theophylline
* Quinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Penetrex, Chibroxin, Noroxin, Zagam, Trovan, and Raxar)
* Birth Control Pills
* Cimetidine (Tagamet)
* Disulfiram (Antabuse)
* Mexiletine (Mexitil)
* Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)

For any dietary supplement regimen, it is important to discuss all prescription and over-the-counter products with your physician.

Sources: RxList.com, Drugs.com
Written by Denise Reynolds RD
Exclusive to eMaxHealth

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