Cacao Seeds

The Benefits of Cacao for Bodybuilding and Testosterone

Cacao is one of the best superfoods to eat for testosterone, energy, mood, lifting, and general quality of life. It has all these benefits because it contains a potent blend of various fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, and MA-O inhibitors.

Briefly, cacao is able to increase testosterone levels by supplying the minerals magnesium and zinc as well as tyrosine, an amino acid. It also has many vitamins necessary for hormonal and bodily function as well as 9g of saturated fat which is needed for the synthesis of testosterone.

You may be familiar with the popular testosterone-raising supplement, ZMA. The ability of this supplement to increase testosterone comes from zinc, magnesium D-Aspartate, and vitamin B6. Cacao is rich in all of these while also providing additional nutrients, flavonoids, and polyphenols, making it an ideal way to naturally boost your T-production.

It is important to clarify that if your levels of magnesium and zinc are already optimal, cacao will have less of an effect. There is a ceiling with minerals where diminishing returns kicks in after a certain threshold at which the body is supplied with all it needs for ideal testosterone production.

Also it is important to buy cacao which has not been heated into other forms of chocolate, the best source to buy cacao will be included below.


The minerals in cacao are zinc, magnesium, iron, chromium, and manganese.

Zinc has many important benefits. This study found that testosterone levels were significantly correlated with zinc consumption. Additionally, zinc helps immunity, improves memory, aids metabolism, helps the body heal, and allows the thyroid to function optimally.

Magnesium also is important for a number of bodily functions including the production of testosterone. This study in athletes found in increase in free and total testosterone levels after magnesium intake. More benefits of magnesium include maintaining healthy blood pressure, reducing stress, boosting immunity, improving nerve function, helping protein synthesis, and bettering muscle function.

Amino Acids

Cacao is rich in amino acids. The amino acids in cacao are tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cystine, tyrosine, valine, and histidine. These amino acids are all found in high concentrations in cacao.

Tryptophan helps improve sleep, reduces, anxiety, and is used as a precursor to serotonin. Threonine helps build protein and improves the function of the CNS. Isoleucine helps the body repair muscle, improve stamina, and boost energy.

Leucine stimulates protein synthesis, helps build muscle, and is used as fuel during training. Lysine helps build protein and reduces stress. Methionine helps build muscle and maintain a healthy liver.

Cystine reduces stress, betters cognitive function, and helps mood. Tyrosine increases energy and is used to create dopamine, indirectly increasing testosterone levels.

Valine improves energy, improves stamina, and helps repair muscle. Histidine reduces oxidative stress and plays a role in building protein.


The flavonoids in cacao are epicathecins, catechins, and procyanidins.

Epicathecins help with blood pressure. Catechins help reduce cell damage and fighting disease. And procyanidins help boost the cardiovascular system.

Procyanidins are likely responsible for the improvement in cardiovascular health and improved gym performance from cacao. This study found that cacao helps nitric oxide production, widening blood vessels and improving blood flow.


The alkaloids in cacao are theobromine, caffeine, and phenethylamine (PEA).

Theobromine has a stimulant-like effect, increasing energy and focus and also helping burn fat. Caffeine also is a stimulant which increases energy levels, improves concentration, increases thermogenesis, and stimulates dopamine.

PEA is associated with improved athletic performance, better mood, and elevated energy.


Cacao has also been shown to activate cannabinoid receptors and increase anandamide levels. This study noted that the effect of cacao on cannabinoid receptors is significant enough to potentially replace consumption of marijuana slightly, lessening the amount needed for medical effect if cacao is consumed in conjunction with marijuana.

How Much Cacao Should You Take?

The recommended dose of cacao is 1-2 tablespoon per day which equates to 10-20g of cacao powder.

When first trying a new supplement, it’s already best to start at a lower dose to see how you react so 1/2-1 tablespoons (or 5-10 grams) is a good intial dose.

After seeing how you react, up to 50g of cacao has been shown to be fine but beyond 50g (5 tablespoons) there are side effects such as sweating and headaches.

Best Cacao Supplement

It is crucial for the positive effects that the cacao is in unadulterated, powder form. Once cacao is processed and refined for taste, many of the flavonoids, alkaloids, and minerals are lost.

The best source of cacao is at Bulk Supplements. At Bulk Supplements you can buy 250g of pure Theobroma Cacao Extract for $18. This cacao is sourced from the Theobroma Cacao tree and is enough to supply 1-2 years of cacao use at a price much lower than other sources of cacao.

I make this recommendation having bought products from Bulk Supplements for almost 5 years and being confident in their quality.


Overall, cacao in powder form with all of its minerals, vitamins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and endocannabinoids present is full of benefits to lifters and anyone wanting a health boost. The best dose is 1-2 tablespoons a day of cacao powder.

Cacao is able to boost testosterone by providing zinc and magnesium and also through increasing dopamine levels with tyrosine. It has many additional benefits beyond just testosterone, making it better than many other supplements only containing those two minerals.

For more on supplements and lifestyle, such as the 12 eggs a day approach to increase testosterone and 5 proven benefits of Beta-alanine, click here.