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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!


  • drgonflydrgonfly Raw Newbie

    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.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Master

    “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.

  • denzildragondenzildragon Raw Newbie

    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.)

  • lzhptlzhpt Raw Newbie

    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.

  • MOTHMOTH Raw Newbie

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

  • ZanzibarrrZanzibarrr Raw Newbie

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

  • libbynlibbyn Raw Newbie

    HELP!!!! I am taking Keto//OS a ketone supplement from Pruvit in USA AMAZING!! My question is sticking to the topic on here. They are bringing out a new one Swiss Cacao. As a migraine sufferer can we touch Cacao ?? Help!!

  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    I think it actually helps with my headaches, but I'm still a light coffee drinker, so I think that plays a huge role. 

  • libbynlibbyn Raw Newbie

    I still drink very weak coffee with no issues & have been using the caffeinated versions of the Keto//OS with no issues but so many say no to cacao then others swear by it. So just don't know which way to go don't want to be in agony

  • BrotherABrotherA Raw Newbie

    Being someone who has worked with cacao as a 'Spiritual' medicine since 2010, as well as being someone who has overcome migraines, I have a couple of quick and simple pieces of cacao awareness to share:

    • Pure Cacao is a diuretic and can lead to dehydration. I cured myself of long term migraine suffering in 2003 by properly hydrating myself each day. (I also drink lots of water for breakfast until my body wakes up and is properly hydrated before I even think of eating food). So, you might be suffering from chronic dehydration and cacao is enough to trigger a dehydration migraine episode. Not fun, I know from experience. 

    • There are many different strains of cacao and each has different levels of "constituents" in them. Similar to different strains of coffee. I prefer what is considered Theobroma Cacao in which the active constituent theobromine is more pure and at higher levels. I consider this a ceremonial grade cacao. The important distinction here is that cacao DOES NOT contain caffeine! The stimulant is theobromine which is different and affects the body differently. This is why some people who get migraines or have bad reactions from coffee WILL NOT get them from cacao.  https://www.livestrong.com/article/499856-caffeine-theobromine/ ;

    • The last distinction to share is that, as stated in the last bullet point, not all cacao and thus chocolate is the same. I ate just a little but of a 'pure' organic chocolate bar from Trader Joe's one time and I regretted that decision for days. There was something about the quality of the cacao they were using or potential mold or other impurity in there that was not good. I had a headache and stomach ache at the same time. :-( 

    • Theobromine is also a vasodilator - good for high blood pressure, not the best for low blood pressure. Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobromine

    So, if you would like to give cacao a good chance of success, then I suggest seeking raw organic cacao that has been lightly roasted just enough to knock out any bacteria. Ultimately, as with any food, try a few different kinds until you find one you like.

    And, DRINK LOTS OF WATER before, during, and after eating cacao if you have been susceptible to migraines. And I mean, a lot! You will feel really good too! :D 

    Bright Blessings,

    ~ Brother A ~

  • georgiafitzgeraldgeorgiafitzgerald Raw Newbie
    Hello, 3 days ago I took between 1-2 oz of cacao. I think drank alcohol later on stupidly one gin and tonic, 2 summer fruits. I can safely say this has been the worse experience firstly never drink on it. Secondly if you do it make sure to really think about your measurements go Small always. I know the combination isn’t good but since I have had high temperature, paranoia, insomnia, a migraine with awful white flashes. I have struggled sleeping waking up in sweats and getting shooting pains up the left side of my body to my brain. My hands even went into a spazum for a while. Last night when I was trying to sleep my resting heart rate was 100 instead of 60. I know this is self inflicted but I do want to warn anyone taking it that it is a very powerful drug. Dehydration is inevitable I have been trying to drink as much water as possible and it still won’t sort it self out. If anyone knows how long this will last or recommendations to get better please share. X
  • ayeshakayeshak Raw Newbie

    Migraines can happen because of tonnes of reasons.

    I had plenty of triggers to my migraines and it wasn't exactly hard to achieve.

    It used to trigger whenever I used to have caffeine, which means I had to stay away from coffee in the morning and it was terrible since I needed coffee to wake myself up.

    I had no choice, to be honest, and was in a conundrum almost every day trying to decide between no migraine and caffeine.

    Then I searched for a few remedies for instant migraine relief and found something that was a little effective.

    It still works but its effects are not that strong and gives me occasional headaches. This is still better than suffering from a migraine for 8 hours straight without any solution.

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