The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to chocolate, cocoa, any of its parts (including caffeine), or members of its plant family. Migraine headaches, allergic skin reactions, and slowed digestion have been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
Note: Chocolate contains caffeine. The chronic use of caffeine, especially in large amounts, may produce tolerance or dependence. Abrupt discontinuation of caffeine may result in physical withdrawal symptoms, including headache, irritation, nervousness, anxiety, and dizziness. Safety information associated with caffeine is not specifically discussed in this monograph. For more information, the Natural Standard monograph on caffeine is available.
Chocolate is likely safe when used in amounts found in foods and when up to 25 grams is used daily. Cocoa butter is likely safe when used on the skin, and when used to help carry medicine.
Use with caution in people with addictive tendencies, anemia, gut disorders, bone loss, and high cholesterol levels. Use with caution in people prone to migraine headaches or kidney stones. Use with caution in people who are overweight or obese and in those trying to become pregnant.
Use with caution in people using angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) or salbutamol.
Use cautiously in children, due to the risk of developing habits that could lead to obesity and poor health.
Chocolate may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Chocolate may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Chocolate may affect blood pressure. Caution is advised in people with high blood pressure and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure.
Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to chocolate, cocoa, any of its parts (including caffeine), or members of its plant family.
Avoid large amounts of chocolate during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Chocolate may cause acne, allergic skin reactions, bloating, colic in infants, constipation, decreased bone density, dental caries, eczema, gas, headaches, improved insulin sensitivity, increased cholesterol levels, increased insulin levels, irregular heart rhythms, increased oxalate levels in urine, irritable bowel syndrome, irritability, jitteriness, kidney damage and disorders, migraines, nausea, neck pain, nervousness, shakiness, sleep disturbances, stomach rumbling, stomach upset, swelling under the skin, unpleasant taste, upset stomach, vomiting, weight gain.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Avoid large amounts of chocolate during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to reports of early delivery, low birth weight, and abortion. Chocolate also contains two compounds that may cause birth defects.
Use with caution in people trying to become pregnant.
This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration