Nutrients 2013, 5(10), 4159-4173; doi:10.3390/nu5104159

Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate

1 Cell and Molecular Neuropharmacology Laboratory, Neurosciences Division, Center for Applied Medical Research, Navarra University, Pamplona 31008, Spain 2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 July 2013; in revised form: 9 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
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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.
Keywords: adenosine; adenosine receptors; adenosine receptor antagonist; caffeine; theobromine

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MDPI and ACS Style

Franco, R.; Oñatibia-Astibia, A.; Martínez-Pinilla, E. Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate. Nutrients 2013, 5, 4159-4173.

AMA Style

Franco R, Oñatibia-Astibia A, Martínez-Pinilla E. Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate. Nutrients. 2013; 5(10):4159-4173.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Franco, Rafael; Oñatibia-Astibia, Ainhoa; Martínez-Pinilla, Eva. 2013. "Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate." Nutrients 5, no. 10: 4159-4173.

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