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Chocolate, Alcohol

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:37 AM

Around nine months after going gluten free, I noticed a couple of new issues. First, I wasn't able to drink any amount of alcohol without feeling awful, and second, I developed crazy heart palpitations.

Now, the alcohol intolerance I believe I solved. I dug around (non-scientifically) and discovered that gluten-free diets can be low in molybdenum, which is necessary for the liver. There's not a lot of scientific stuff out there about molybdenum, as it's more a trace element in the body, but the main source of it is grains, and at the time, I couldn't afford any replacement grains & was largely grain free.

I got a multi-vitamin with molybdenum, and the alcohol intolerance went away. To test it, after a few months I stopped taking the vitamin & it came back. Then I started again and it went away, & now I have no problem with alcohol.

Which bring us to the second issue--chocolate. It took me about 6 months to figure out the heart palpitations (and sleep problems and difficultly lying on my left side) were brought on by chocolate. It was *not* caffeine that was the problem, as I could drink several cups of coffee before I would get the palpitations; whereas a relatively small amount of chocolate would trigger them.

Again, I dug around and found out about theobromine, which is stimulant in chocolate similar to caffeine that particularly stimulates the heart. I should note caffeine is partially broken down into theobromine, which would explain why excessive amounts of caffeine--like 4 cups of coffee--would also cause the palpitations, while 2-3 cups wouldn't.

(I'd like to say I'm not an expert on this, so please don't take this as gospel.)

Which bring me to my question. If a dietary deficiency in molybdenum caused the alcohol intolerance, isn't it likely that something similar caused the problems with chocolate, especially as they started around the same time?

The problem is, I don't know what the liver needs to break down theobromine. I do know it's processed much slower than caffeine, which explains why I always had a significant lag between eating chocolate and the onset of palpitations.

Does anyone know what would be missing from my diet (I'm also vegetarian) that could be causing these problems? I'm thinking about looking for some vitamins designed for liver support--thoughts?
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Posted 20 July 2011 - 01:52 PM

I think it is more likely a reaction to soy in the chocolate. That's just an idea, as there are quite a few of us that have reactions to soy. And most chocolate has soy in it and dairy.
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Proverbs 25:16 "Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it."
Job 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
Thyroid cyst and nodules, Lactose / casein intolerant. Diet positive, gene test pos, symptoms confirmed by Dr-head. My current bad list is: gluten, dairy, sulfites, coffee (the devil's brew), tea, Bug's Bunnies carrots, garbanzo beans of pain, soy- no joy, terrible turnips, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and hard work. have a good day! :-) Paul


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Posted 20 July 2011 - 02:20 PM

I concur with GfininDC.

I can do coffee. There's only a couple of chocolates that I can tolerate without repercussion. One is homemade chocolate sauce with just boiled cocoa, sugar, water, chocolate (you can find the recipe on allrecipes if interested) or the high content dark chocolates with minimal soy lecithin.

Did you change you alcohol or mixers when you gaind alchol tolerance?
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Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.



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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:50 PM

Thank you both for your responses. It's not soy, though. I can eat soy fine, including tofu & things with soy lecithin in them. It's one of the things I checked during the six months I was looking into what caused the problems.

I've stuck with wine throughout.
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Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:02 PM

Weird. Chocolate bothers me too and not sure why. Let us know if you figure anything out.
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Gluten-free since 6/26/11
Undiagnosed for 14 years
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Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:21 PM

Wow, amazing metabolic sleuthing! I'm impressed. First, have you considered the heart effect might be phenylethylamine?

If it is theophylline, everything says methylxanthines go over the hepatic P450 system, which requires heme iron. However, there is also xanthine oxidase, which is a molybdenum containing enzyme. You'd have to do some digging to figure out whether the methylxanthines are a substrate for xanthine oxidase. If this is the case, it may be molybdenum again.

If it's phenylethlamine messing with your heart, that's metabolized on MAO-B which contains FAD. You would need dietary riboflavin to make FAD, but it's hard to imagine you wouldn't have other issues if you're riboflavin deficient.
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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:16 PM

Skylark--I wish I could follow your path. I just don't know enough to comment, but it sounds/looks impressive too!

From a simpler point of view, I looked up theobromine and discovered some people are sensitive to minute amounts. It is a poison that generally is more poisonous to dogs and cats than humans. Chocolate has very little of this substance, however its enough to harm our pets. However some of us are very sensitive creatures much like our critters. I am sensitive to salicylates too after all, which means I get overdosed with aspirin like substances when I eat many fruits, herbs and veggies (esp. the skins). Theobromine sensitivity may be similar... Instead I usually choose to have (nut free) carob instead. My heart is much happier with this choice.
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Diagnosed celiac sprue as infant: failure to thrive & pneumonia-back on grains age 4. Began herbs 1971 combating chronic kidney disease/general ill health 1973. Avoid wheat family and "allergens" by 1980. Late 80's doc. diagnosed candida: cave-man diet. Diagnosed degraded myelin sheath 2006; need co-enzyme B vitamins. Discovered celiac fall 2007; finally told diagnosis as infant. Recently found I am salicylic acid intolerant. Ironically can't tolerate most herbs now. Can now eat brown rice & other gluten-free grains (except corn) & even maple syrup & now homeopathic medicine works! Am still exploring the shape of this elephant but I've made progress!

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