Theobromine is a methylxanthine related to caffeine extracted from cocoa (Theobroma Cacao) beans. Studies show that theobromine increases alertness, attention, and executive function.

Scientific Name:
3,7-dimethylxanthine extracted from Theobroma Cacao


  • A xanthine related to and synergistic with caffeine as a CNS stimulant, with slower onset and longer duration than caffeine[1]
  • Adenosine receptor antagonist (lower affinity than caffeine)[1]
  • Affects neurotransmitters modulated by Adenosine – Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Serotonin, Acetylcholine, Glutamate, and GABA[3]
  • PDE inhibitor, increases intracellular cAMP[2]
  • Increases motor activity[3]
  • Increases information processing rate[3]
  • Increases cerebral metabolism and vasodilation[3]
  • The natural stimulant found in Chocolate (Theobroma) contributing to Cacao’s effect on mood (along with phenylethylamine)[1]

[1] Franco R, et al (2013). Health benefits of methylxanthines in cacao and chocolate. Nutrients, 18;5(10):4159-73. doi: 10.3390/nu5104159
[2] Essayan DM (1999). Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors and immunomodulation. Biochem Pharmacol, 57(9):965-73. doi: 10.1016/S0006-2952(98)00331-1
[3] Burnstock G (2013). Introduction to purinergic signalling in the brain. Adv Exp Med Biol, 986:1-12. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-4719-7_1