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The Magical Influence of Cacao on Nervous System Health

In a world where the aroma of Cacao wafts through the air, there is a little bean that holds a secret power. Nestled within the Cacao bean is a treasure trove of antioxidants, especially flavonoids like the magical epicatechin. This unassuming bean, often transformed into the delectable Cacao paste (aka Ceremonial Cacao) and chocolate, has a remarkable influence on the nervous system.

Flavonoids embark on a journey into the brain, sparking a symphony of beneficial effects. They are like tiny superheroes, stimulating the brain’s blood flow, encouraging the growth of new blood vessels, and even shaping the very architecture of neurons in regions dedicated to learning and memory.

In the world of animals and humans, the epicatechin proves to be a wizard of cognition, enhancing various aspects of thinking and understanding. The Cacao isn’t just a treat for the taste buds; it also works its magic on mood, often becoming a comforting ally during emotional stress.

Flavonoids, like guardians of the mind, play a role in preserving cognitive abilities as time marches on. In the realm of lab rats, they stand guard against the looming threat of Alzheimer’s disease, while in humans, they lessen the risk of strokes.

The magic of Cacao isn’t just about pleasure; it is a potion for the brain. These flavonoids dance with signal cascades, engaging with protein and lipid kinases to fend off the specter of neuronal death caused by harmful radicals. In the face of neurotoxicants, they whisper a spell of survival to the neurons, promoting resilience and flexibility in the intricate web of synaptic connections.

Cacao and its magical influence continue to weave through the intricate details of its biological composition. Beyond the realm of antioxidants, the Cacao bean harbors a host of other compounds, each with its own potential for biological activity.

In the enchanted world of Cacao, there are biogenic amines like serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyrosine, tryptamine, and tyramine. These mystical elements see their concentrations rise during fermentation, only to fade away during the alchemical processes of roasting and alkalinization (this is why all our varieties, which you can find HERE >>>, are “only” fermented and sun-dried!!!). Yet, their effects remain hidden to the eyes of healthy beings, for in the bodies of the robust, these compounds dance a metabolic ballet in the intestinal mucosa, liver, and kidneys, guided by the monoamine oxidases (MAO). Only in those with a deficiency in MAO do the effects emerge, potentially leading to headaches and heightened blood pressure, casting a shadow that sometimes leads to the avoidance of Cacao.

But the Cacao bean holds even more secrets. Anandamide, an endogenous ligand for the cannabinoid receptor, whispers softly in the background, present in minuscule amounts. Salsolinol and tetrahydro‐β‐carbolines (THBCs) play their part in the Cacao symphony. Yet, despite their presence, there is no evidence that the consumption of Cacao or chocolate elevates their concentrations in circulating blood. And then, like a hidden gem, magnesium adds its touch to the Cacao and chocolate concoction, offering its benefits in varying quantities.

Epicatechin, the hero of the tale, is a swift traveler, rapidly absorbed in humans, making its presence known in the bloodstream just 30 minutes after the indulgence in flavanol-rich Cacao. The effects, like a subtle spell, peak 2–3 hours post-ingestion, gradually fading by 6–8 hours. The prospect of cumulative effects hints at the potential wonders that could unfold with daily consumption in significant doses.

To truly impact the brain, these antioxidants have to cross the mystical blood–brain barrier (BBB). The tale reveals that epicatechin, and its companion catechin, are not mere spectators but active participants in this crossing. Their journey is time-dependent and stereoselective, with epicatechin proving to be the more adept traveler. In the world of animals, epicatechin’s presence is detected in the brain, and with repeated exposure, its concentrations even increase.

The precise distribution of these flavonoids within the brain remains a mystery, a secret garden waiting to be explored. Yet, the mere possibility of these magical compounds crossing the blood–brain barrier and gathering in the brain hints at their potential for positive actions—actions that could touch the realms of cognition and perhaps even offer a shield of neuroprotection.

And so, the story of Cacao and its magical influence on the wonders of the nervous system continues, with each chapter unraveling new mysteries and paving the way for a future filled with the promise of health and well-being.

Summary: The Magical Influence of Cocoa on Nervous System Health

Antioxidant Richness: Cacao boasts a high concentration of antioxidants, particularly flavonoids like epicatechin.

Brain Stimulation: Flavonoids in Cacao stimulate brain perfusion, induce angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and morphological changes in neurons related to learning and memory.

Cognitive Enhancement: Epicatechin in Cacao improves cognition in animals and humans, potentially offering benefits for memory and thinking.

Mood Boosting: Cacao is known to induce positive effects on mood, often serving as a comfort during emotional stress.

Preservation of Cognitive Abilities: Flavonoids in Cacao preserve cognitive abilities during aging in rats and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and strokes in humans.

Biological Compounds: Beyond antioxidants, cocoa contains biogenic amines, anandamide, salsolinol, tetrahydro‐β‐carbolines (THBCs), and magnesium.

Metabolism of Biogenic Amines: Biogenic amines are metabolized in healthy individuals, but in those with monoamine oxidase (MAO) deficiency, they can lead to headaches and increased blood pressure.

Limited Evidence for Compound Increase: While present in Cacao, there’s no clear evidence that the consumption of chocolate significantly increases the concentration of compounds like anandamide, salsolinol, and THBCs in circulating blood.

Bioavailability and Penetration: Epicatechin, rapidly absorbed, reaches peak concentrations in the bloodstream 2–3 hours post-ingestion, with potential cumulative effects from regular consumption.

Blood–Brain Barrier Crossing: Flavonoids, particularly epicatechin, can cross the blood–brain barrier, hinting at potential direct positive actions on the brain, including cognition and neuroprotection.

And thus, we conclude just a tiny fragment of the grand saga unveiling the benefits of Cacao. In the vast tapestry of its narrative, we explore antioxidants, the wonders of epicatechin, and the mystical bioavailability dancing across the blood–brain barrier. Yet, this is but a brief glimpse into the rich, multifaceted tale of Cacao’s influence on our well-being.

The story continues, with chapters yet to be revealed—each holding the promise of health, joy, and the magic that Cacao, in all its complexity, brings to our lives. As we leave this narrative, consider it an invitation to delve deeper into the enchanting expanse of Cacao’s benefits, a tale that unfolds with every bite and every sip. The grand story of Cacao awaits, and we’ve merely scratched the surface of its captivating and beneficial narrative.

For more scientific language and the inspiration for this article reach HERE >>>