Cacao Health Considerations
In most cases, there are no concerns to be aware of when taking cacao as a food or drink. Cacao is a plant medicine, a natural source of energy, inspiration, and healing, helpful to all kinds of problems or for general wellbeing but like any medicine it should also be respected.
The considerations below mainly come into play when taking higher doses of cacao and for those who may be taking other medications.
In general, up to 20 grams is considered to be a relatively low dose and effects are generally imperceptible but work gently inside you. Between 20-30 grams may be considered to be a small ceremonial dose of cacao where the effects may be more perceptible such as more energy, clarity, a feeling of empathy or heart opening. Above 40 grams is considered to be a strong ceremonial dose.
If you have any pre-existing medical condition which requires medication it is worth consulting with your doctor/medical professional or pharmacist before taking large doses of cacao. If you have any concerns about taking cacao then please don't hesitate to contact Jayne for more information about our cacao firstname.lastname@example.org
Interactions with anti-depressants
Cacao works as a natural antidepressant itself, taking cacao triggers the production of hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. Serotonin helps us to regulate mood and happiness and endorphins can help to relieve stress and pain.
Larger doses of cacao are not recommended when combined with certain anti-depressants such as MAOI based medicines and anti-psychotics, and some SSRI type antidepressants.
Too much serotonin in the body can be a bad thing, and can cause a number of negative symptoms. As such, it is not recommended to take large doses of cacao (which stimulates serotonin production) with other medications that also look to increase serotonin.
In most cases low doses of cacao will not cause any negative effects, and can be beneficial.
Cacao contains theobromine which in most cases is very good for heart health as it increases heart rate and lowers blood pressure. However, these effects may exacerbate any existing serious heart problems. If you have a heart condition it is recommended not to take larger doses of cacao.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Theobromine is a stimulant and therefore we recommend only 20 grams of cacao or lower (micro-dosing) whilst pregnant or breast feeding. Most babies will respond amazingly to the health benefits of cacao but some may not like it. Your body and baby will let you know.
Cacao contains no caffeine but the theobromine in cacao acts as a stimulant, similar to caffeine. The stimulant effects can be positive and give you a mood lift, sense of being more aware, feeling more awake, and having more clarity. In larger doses cacao’s stimulant effects might include those similar to large doses of caffeine such as mild shaking, light headedness or headaches, and in some cases nausea. People’s tolerances will differ but it is not recommended to take more than two large doses of cacao in any one day.
Theobromine is much more potent to our cat and dog friends. Ceremonial cacao contains levels of theobromine that can be lethal for dogs and cats. Please don’t feed cacao to pets or let them get hold of it. If your pet does happen to eat some cacao seek advice from a vet immediately.