Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nutrients. 2013 Oct 18;5(10):4159-73. doi: 10.3390/nu5104159.

Health benefits of methylxanthines in cacao and chocolate.

Author information

1
Cell and Molecular Neuropharmacology Laboratory, Neurosciences Division, Center for Applied Medical Research, Navarra University, Pamplona 31008, Spain. rfranco123@gmail.com.

Abstract

One may wonder why methylxanthines are so abundant in beverages used by humans for centuries, or in cola-drinks that have been heavily consumed since their appearance. It is likely that humans have stuck to any brew containing compounds with psychoactive properties, resulting in a better daily life, i.e., more efficient thinking, exploring, hunting, etc., however, without the serious side effects of drugs of abuse. The physiological effects of methylxanthines have been known for a long time and they are mainly mediated by the so-called adenosine receptors. Caffeine and theobromine are the most abundant methylxanthines in cacao and their physiological effects are notable. Their health-promoting benefits are so remarkable that chocolate is explored as a functional food. The consequences of adenosine receptor blockade by natural compounds present in cacao/chocolate are here reviewed. Palatability and health benefits of methylxanthines, in general, and theobromine, in particular, have further contributed to sustain one of the most innocuous and pleasant habits: chocolate consumption.

PMID:
24145871
PMCID:
PMC3820066
DOI:
10.3390/nu5104159
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center