A new supplement offers the mood-boosting properties of chocolate in a healthier, liquid form.
Ursula Sautter | December 2011 Issue
Chocolate makes you happy; we all know that. Unfortunately, it’s also rich in fat and sugar—so if you eat lots of it, you’ll feel pretty chirpy but pile on the extra pounds, increasing your chances of conditions like cardiovascular disease. Now, though, tryptophan—the main substance responsible for chocolate’s happiness quotient—is available in a less fattening form. A new liquid dietary supplement, Frohnatur (“cheerful soul” in German), boasts seven times as much tryptophan as in a 3 1/2-ounce (100-gram) bar of milk chocolate at a fraction of the calories: 65 instead of the usual 525.
The body cannot produce tryptophan—an important biochemical precursor to the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin—so it must be ingested with food. To ensure that as much tryptophan as possible is converted into serotonin, Frohnatur is rich in dextrose. These sugar molecules serve as a kind of chemical courier service, escorting tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier, which protects our gray matter from harmful substances. Frohnatur, a festive orange in color, also contains vitamins B6 and B12, iron, magnesium and folic acid, to name just a few ingredients. Imming & Theiss, the Munich food company that makes the drink, says it may be beneficial as a supplement in serotonin-based medication regimens or as a remedy for people suffering from mild depressive episodes, stress, burnout or pre-menstrual syndrome. It is not, Imming & Theiss execs stress, a substitute for traditional drugs in case of moderate or severe depression. The only drawback is that the liquid tastes nothing like chocolate; instead, it tastes like tart vitamin drinks.
Check out the German product site here.
Photo: Everjean via Flickr