Do you wake everyday and resolve to NOT have chocolate AGAIN!? Or, once you’ve had one square it turns into a whole family block, even if you’re feeling sick whilst you’re eating it?…And once this has all happened, does the guilt set in all over again..?
The biochemistry of this addiction is fascinating. Three substances in chocolate are enticing – sugar, caffeine and Phenyl-Ethyl-Amine or PEA for short. PEA is a natural opioid that gives us a lift or feel-good boost. As its name suggests, its base is a tiny natural amino-acid (protein) called Phenylalanine This is also in Diet Coke.
Phenylalanine also “kicks off” the production of our stress hormones (Dopamine, Nor-Adrenalin and Adrenalin) plus Thyroxine from the thyroid. The point is that, if stress has used up quite a lot of Phenylalanine or if diet has been poor in providing enough of it, then the body ‘runs out’ of building blocks to make PEA, Thyroxine and Dopamine/Adrenalin.
In this case, chocolate can become a very fast “quick fix” for the body finding enough PEA to have you feeling good again.
When Phenylalanine is made into the very substance listed above, there are also very specific nutrients used as catalysts to do this. They are:
- B Vitamins
- Folate (activated from 5MTHF)
- Vitamin C
- SAMe (S-Adenosyl Methionine)
Deficiency in any of these will cause a decline in production of PEA.
You may be surprised but, severe chocolate cravings can be reduced within 3-5 days with supplementation of Phenylalanine and Co-factor supplementation.