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Cacao-induced Migraine?

About a month ago I had the pleasure of finding some raw cacao beans (whole beans…not the nibs!) and proceeded to eat far too many that day. Although I had quite a buzz from them, the next morning, I felt as though I had a total hangover…dizzy, headachy, groggy, etc. I knew it was related to the cacao but other than that, thought nothing of it (especially because I had had nibs before with no problem).

Anyways, Sunday night I made a smoothie with some cacao nibs…Around 5 o clock I lost the vision in my left eye and started feeling verrry disoriented and dizzy and nauseus. The next morning (Monday/yesterday), I had what I now know to be a full-blown migraine. I was out of commission all day..and slept (thankfully) through most of it. I woke up today feeling absolutely fine! I’ve never had a migraine before and haven’t even had a minor headache since going raw about a year ago so I’m almost positive it was the cacao that triggered it.

Has anyone else had experiences like this? I’m super sensitive to caffeine so I don’t know if that contributed to my demise. All I do know is that I’m definitely steering clear from cacao from now on!


  • I found out years ago I had to give up chocolate because of the enzymes in it give me a migrane, not the caffeine. Don’t know if that would be the same as raw cacao beans or not.

  • “Regular” (heated) chocolate (even “heatlhy” dark chocolate sweetened with agave) gave me headaches and was terribly addictive for me. I use only the Sunfood brand of cacao now, and I have no headaches or any other negative side effects with it like when I ate heated cacao products, but not everyone is the same.

  • It probably was the cacao, I’m afraid. It contains other chemicals besides caffeine that can trigger migraines. :( (I’m lucky – if I feel a migraine coming on, some cacao (or back in the day, a cup of espresso) stops mine dead in its tracks.)

  • Interesting…I made that fabulous choco-banana shake for my husband yesterday. He developed a huge headache around mid-day. I have a question out there in the forums about the different types of cacao—fermented at low temps or not as i believe this makes a big difference weather or not i can tolerate the caffeine load. I’ll post back when i get an answer.

  • Yep…it’s definitely happened to me. Cacao is a very occasional treat now.

  • It seems Natives used to have the fruit and NOT the bean.

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