Chocolate releases serotonin

The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance

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Chocolate & Dopamine | Healthy Eating

By Tracey Roizman, D.C. Updated November 27, 2018

Chocolate is a go-to food for many people who seek to relieve stress or lift a low mood. You may know of chocolate's ability to boost levels of the calming brain neurotransmitter serotonin. However, research has revealed that chocolate may exert more complex effects than previously thought, with a combination of brain-altering, nutritional and sensory characteristics potentially responsible for its reputed mood benefits. Expert opinions vary on whether some components of chocolate influence levels of the activating neurotransmitter dopamine.

Mood-Altering Compounds

Though chocolate is known for its ability to increase levels of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, it also contains small amounts of a compound called phenylethylamine, which acts like an amphetamine, stimulating your brain cells to release dopamine. Tyramine, a compound in chocolate that is derived from the amino acid tyrosine, has similar dopamine-promoting effects. These substances may be more concentrated in white chocolate, which increases dopamine levels significantly more than dark chocolate, according to Rodolfo Paoletti, coeditor of the book "Chocolate and Health."

Thought Effects

Your brain produces dopamine when you eat chocolate and also when you think about eating chocolate, according to Georgia Health Sciences University. The response lasts as long as you continue to eat or think about the confection or for as long as the experience holds significance for you, triggering the elevated heart rate and heightened motivation that characterizes dopamine's effects in the brain. Fearful experiences also raise dopamine levels, though they provoke a weaker response; only 25 percent as strong as chocolate or good experiences.


Phenylethylamine works by combining with dopamine, resulting in a mild antidepressant effect. When you eat chocolate, your limbic system -- the part of your brain that controls emotions -- responds to the phenylathylamine in the chocolate by promoting blissful emotions. However, too much chocolate consumption may lead to too much dopamine in the limbic system and produce negative emotions, such as paranoia or social withdrawal, according to the Western Kentucky University Biology Department. A laboratory animal study published in the November 2010 issue of the journal "Neurochemistry International" found that chronic high doses of phenylethylamine promote depression, anxiety and movement disorders. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.


If chocolate were the mood-boosting substance it is widely touted to be, most people would gravitate toward dark chocolate as opposed to the more popular milk chocolate, according to Dr. Harvey B. Milkman, coauthor of the book "Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs: A Positive Approach to Mood Alteration." The concentration of mood-altering substances in chocolate is too low to have an effect on people when consumed in normal amounts, says Milkman. Instead, the satiety effects of fats and carbohydrates found in chocolate foods may be responsible for the powerful affects and cravings associated with chocolate. A study published in the June 2006 issue of the "Journal of Affective Disorders" found that, when used as a comfort food to counteract low mood, chocolate prolongs depression rather than reversing it. .

Writer Bio

Tracey Roizman, DC is a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care and a practicing chiropractor. She also holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry.

How chocolate cakes help us stock up on the hormone of happiness


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In a cold northern country it is difficult to rejoice at the approach of autumn. The fleeting Indian summer will be followed by gloomy leaden clouds, prolonged rains, cold and impenetrable longing, when everything falls out of hand, and life turns into a meaningless fuss. On such days, a chocolate dessert becomes a lifesaver - intuition correctly tells you how to deal with spleen and breakdown. Chocolate contains the essential amino acid tryptophan, from which the neurotransmitter serotonin is formed, nicknamed the "happiness hormone". Serotonin helps us to live in harmony with an imperfect world - to enjoy life with all its quirks, to find pleasure in simple things, to appreciate our uniqueness and not to succumb to illness and despondency. nine0003

Why does the body need serotonin?

Serotonin is formed in the cells of the pineal gland, small intestine and pancreas under the influence of sunlight. In inclement weather, mediator production slows down, which immediately affects the speed and accuracy of transmission of nerve impulses. For this reason, many Russians suffer from seasonal depression. Constant serotonin starvation in regions where the sun is not visible for half a year leads to high anxiety, apathy, impaired memory and concentration, increased fatigue, sleep disorders and emotional instability. A high stress load also limits the production of serotonin: the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol act as antagonists of the hormone of happiness. nine0003

Severe serotonin deficiency is accompanied by a sharp increase in sensitivity to stress and pain. The close connection between chronic pain syndromes and depression of the psyche is confirmed by scientific research: according to the expert group of the University of Michigan, the same areas of the cerebral cortex are responsible for physical and mental suffering.

Currently, Russian scientists are actively studying the prospects for the use of serotonin preparations in order to prevent age-related changes in blood vessels. The expected effect is to prolong life by 20–30 years with the preservation of physical and intellectual capacity for work in old age. nine0015

Happiness factory inside oneself: how to adjust serotonin production?

Lack of serotonin is not a condition to be put up with. If depression has not yet gone far, it is enough to carve out a few hours a day for a hobby. Serotonin is actively produced at the moment when we are doing what we love and enjoy the creative process without regard to the result and external evaluation. Also, the production of serotonin is positively influenced by sports and dancing, listening to your favorite music, walking and outdoor games in the fresh air, regular sex life, meeting friends and communicating with pets. nine0003

What do they eat happiness with?

If your own resources to fight seasonal depression are not enough, you can make up for the deficiency of the hormone of happiness through diet. To the delight of the sweet tooth, dark chocolate and chocolate cakes are one of the most valuable sources of tryptophan.

Snickers cake will hit seasonal depression with peanut shot and caramel shrapnel. Chocolate products have a great advantage - due to the high content of fast carbohydrates, the delivery of tryptophan to the sites of serotonin synthesis is noticeably accelerated. The positive effect is felt already after the first piece of cake. In addition, cocoa butter contains a natural stimulant, theobromine, which acts similarly to caffeine. A little motivating kick will help you get out of hibernation, and serotonin will make awakening easy and joyful. nine0003

Of course, not all types of chocolate are created equal. Capricious nerve cells agree only on natural dark chocolate without admixture of vegetable fats and flavorings. Therefore, the Sweet Express confectionery orders chocolate in Belgium from a regular supplier.

Do you want to experience the difference between real chocolate and consumer chocolate? Try our Snickers cake - and you will no longer want to be interrupted by store-bought bars, in which there is only one name for real chocolate. A light chocolate biscuit with small pieces of peanuts gently envelops streams of thick caramel-peanut cream with white and milk chocolate, and the provocative crunch of airy biscuits will amuse even the unsmeian princess. nine0003

The classic chocolate truffle cake, an explosive cocktail of dark and milk chocolate with chocolate cream and almonds, will give you even more drive with cocoa flavor. And for a bachelorette party, you should order a low-calorie cake "Pancho" - a hot Latin American temperament of chocolate biscuit under a delicate sour cream with refreshing notes of prunes and tantalizing chords of walnuts will instantly dispel the autumn blues.

Chocolate Truffle Cake delicious fuel for a tired brain

Pancho chocolate cake with prunes and walnuts will warm your soul and body with the hot breath of the tropics. All obstacles are surmountable. The main thing is to throw the whip away and choose the right gingerbread!

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"The hormone of happiness" and 3 more beneficial properties of chocolate


06 July 2021

YEREVAN, 6 July. News-Armenia . Doctors told about the benefits of chocolate. This, according to, is reported by The Sun with reference to a study published on the website of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information.

According to experts, chocolate contains a huge amount of substances that have a beneficial effect on health. First of all, it contains hormones that are responsible for mood - serotonin, endorphin and dopamine, which are called: "the hormone of happiness." nine0003

"Chocolate may interact with certain neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin (found in cocoa and chocolate) that help regulate appetite and improve mood," the study says.

Raw cocoa is good for the heart. It contains flavanols, plant compounds that are thought to improve circulation to the heart, lower blood pressure and inflammation, and even lower cholesterol levels.

In addition, chocolate is able to increase brain activity, thanks to caffeine and theobromine, which are natural stimulants. At the same time, experts advise to carefully approach the choice of chocolate: the less sugar in a bar, for example, bitter or dark, the lower the likelihood of a sharp deterioration in well-being after a drop in blood sugar levels. nine0003

Chocolate consumption also reduces the risk of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Flavanols may protect against oxidative stress and other cellular damage, preserving a person's cognitive abilities as they age. -0-

Read the news first and discuss them - in our Telegram channel

#chocolate #benefit #happiness hormone

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