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Chocolate, Alcohol
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7 posts in this topic

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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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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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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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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Weird. Chocolate bothers me too and not sure why. Let us know if you figure anything out.

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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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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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