Another cacao molecule investigated here at Wild Child Cacao. This time we zoom in on phenylethylamine, or easier said: PEA.
PEA is an alkaloid naturally occurring in our bodies and cacao stimulates the release of PEA in the brain.
Specifically in the part of the brain that is associated with emotions. This results in feelings of pleasure, more drive, focus and impulse control, heightened creativity, and better sensory perception and awareness. But how does this work?
Feeling in love and anti-depressant PEA itself actually has a very short half-life. That means that your body breaks it down very quickly and the molecule by itself does not have a long effect. However, in that short time PEA releases serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These molecules produce the euphoric effect that many people describe as a “runner’s high” or “feeling in love”.
PEA actually works in a similar way as some drugs like MDMA or amphetamine.
Even more so; some research suggests that depression might correlate with a deficit in PEA. Intake of PEA produced a sustained relief from depression with a significant number of patients!
A drug without the side effects
PEA actually works in a similar way as some drugs like MDMA or amphetamine. They stimulate the same parts of the brain! Yet PEA just turns up the volume of the neurotransmitter activity in a more controlled matter. The difference? No side effects.
The effect is almost instant. Improvements in cognitive performance, more drive, attention, awareness, heightened creativity, pleasure, libido, a sense of well-being and social behavior. It might be one of the reasons many experience a big heart-opening effect when using cacao in a group ceremony.
If you’re diagnosed with ADHD and take in PEA (through cacao or other ways) you should see an improvement in mood, attention span, focus and mental clarity.
PEA for your ADHD
If you’re diagnosed with ADHD and take in PEA (through cacao or other ways) you should see an improvement in mood, attention span, focus and mental clarity. Not quite the same effect you’d get from regular prescribed medicine, but with a side benefit of more sociability. Some naturopaths are even prescribing PEA instead of stimulants like amphetamines or methylphenidate to treat ADHD.
Always be mindful
Soooo is it only roses and butterflies with this molecule? Nope. The PEA in chocolate
may trigger migraines in some people. So always make sure to listen to your body to know how much cacao you can handle.
More effect when toasted
Several types of research show that PEA has a thermo-reaction. Which in this case means that during fermenting and roasting, the levels go up! So make sure you drink a cacao that has been roasted or at least fermented properly. And take note: the absorption of the nutrients in cacao is greatly reduced when consumed with dairy.
Makes our traditional recipe of pure Wild Child Cacao with hot water to be the best way of getting those PEA’s activated in your body! We just thought it was super tasty… ;)
Read more about the benefits of cacao here: