The Difference Between Theacrine & Caffeine: Staying Awake Without Coffee
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If you're like most people, you've become heavily reliant on caffeine to wake up, get focused and get through the day. Unfortunately, that often comes with a price.

It seems adverse effects like jitters, crash, and habituation (the need for more to get the same effect) are developing for caffeine users more than ever before. This explains, at least in part, why many people have begun to look for healthy caffeine alternatives, and that's where theacrine really stands out. It's seemingly a perfect coffee replacement because it offers all the benefits of caffeine without any of the drawbacks.

So, what's the deal with theacrine? Can this natural coffee replacement really help you stay focused and energized? And how exactly is theacrine different from caffeine? Let’s discuss!


What is Theacrine? 

Theacrine belongs to a family of chemical compounds called nootropics, which support cognitive function and boost energy and stamina. Previously, nootropic supplements were comprised of synthetic chemicals, but as medicine pivots towards more holistic, natural treatments, the term has come to include herbs and naturally-derived compounds like theacrine.


This plant-derived nootropic is a purine alkaloid found in the leaves of a tea plant called kucha. Alkaloids are vital metabolites that protect plants and regulate processes like growth. When ingested by humans, alkaloids can have anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic, and other beneficial effects.


Sometimes referred to as clean-caffeine, theacrine has a similar chemical structure to caffeine, and it also works by targeting specific receptors in your brain. After consumption, people report feeling more focused, motivated and energized but in a more tranquil way, free of the jitters or the crash associated with caffeine. 


This is why theacrine is gaining in popularity as an effective alternative to caffeine with those who want an energizing drink but don't want the crashes, jitters, or anxiety. Many healthy energy supplements today, like MTE, rely on theacrine instead of caffeine in their formulations because it opens up the possibility to have the drink any time of the day without worrying about the insomnia typical of afternoon caffeine consumption.


What Are the Benefits of Consuming Theacrine?

Theacrine is the perfect substitute for tea and coffee because it provides sustained energy without any of the drawbacks. In addition, since it's not a stimulant, this alkaloid doesn't raise your blood pressure or heart rate, and your body doesn't build a tolerance to it like caffeine.


Here are the theacrine benefits researchers have observed so far during clinical trials and everyday use:


A Sustained Energy Boost

Theacrine doesn't overstimulate. In fact, it promotes a calm, continuous flow of energy that helps you stay alert throughout the day. As a result, theacrine can help you finish that important assignment, work report, gaming session, or workout without feeling like you need a nap afterward. That's because it works slightly differently than caffeine, so there is no crash a few hours after having a green drink that's got theacrine in it.


Research reports that people who consume theacrine feel more energized and motivated while feeling less groggy and lethargic. That means they are more likely to go and get stuff done.


However, keep in mind that theacrine works a little slower than caffeine. It needs around one hour to reach 80% of energy benefits, and its peak is 3-4 hours after consumption. People report effects to last up to eight hours.


In contrast, it takes about 30 minutes to reap the benefits of caffeine, and the effects you can feel last for 4 hours max, which is why you need that mid-afternoon cup, too. In terms of energy production, caffeine falls short of theacrine in every way.


Theacrine shouldn't affect your sleep or cause insomnia, but it's better to avoid using it in the evening. One study even reported that this supplement could help improve your sleep. However, the study was done in mice, and we need more findings to confirm these effects in humans.


Better Cognitive Performance

pilot study published in 2022 showed that supplementation with theacrine could improve cognitive parameters in addition to energy-boosting benefits. People taking the supplements in the study showed better self-reported concentration, alertness, and attentiveness. That could be an excellent way to boost academic and work performance, but the people in this particular study didn't score better on cognitive tests. However, that could be due to other factors, such as the timing of these tests or inadequate theacrine dosage.


Other studies also highlight theacrine's ability to improve energy, alertness and concentration, confirming its potential as a coffee alternative for focus.


Better Physical Performance

Athletes and bodybuilders often use caffeine before working out to train harder and improve performance. So, the main question is: can theacrine do that? The answer is yes. Taking theacrine is a great way to boost your energy and reduce fatigue. A daily pre-workout scoop of a daily wellness powder containing theacrine could positively affect physical performance in other ways as well:


2019 study examined the effects of theacrine on the performance of high-level soccer players. The results demonstrated that this supplement could increase endurance by boosting run-to-exhaustion times by as much as 38%. This significant improvement could greatly benefit many athletes and improve their overall performance.


Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The kucha tea plant is native to China, where it is used to treat common colds. It appears that theacrine is one of the main compounds in the kucha plant responsible for its efficacy as a homeopathic treatment. That's because this alkaloid has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Theacrine helps reduce inflammation in your body and provides pain relief, which could be vital in promoting faster recovery and maintaining optimal health.


Elevated Mood

One way that theacrine works is by binding to specific dopamine receptors in your brain. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of motivation, pleasure, and satisfaction. So, when theacrine communicates with these receptors, it signals your brain to produce more dopamine. This can improve your mood and motivation in a measured and sustainable way.


A 2015 study confirmed self-reported mood improvements after theacrine supplementation. In another pilot trial, Theacrine improved subjects' motivation to exercise and reduced anxiety. A new study using mice as subjects also supported theacrine's antidepressant benefits.


Overall, this plant-derived supplement shows excellent potential to balance out your mood and help you get into the right place mentally. 


What is Caffeine?

Most people know that your morning coffee contains caffeine, but what is caffeine, exactly?


Caffeine is a naturally-occurring substance found in over 60 plants. It stimulates your central nervous system by blocking the adenosine receptor, which prevents you from feeling tired. As a result, you feel more energized and ready to take on any challenges the day brings.


Benefits of Caffeine

Drinking caffeine has several benefits for your health. It boosts your energy and reduces fatigue, which can help improve your mental and physical performance. It supports your metabolism and promotes endurance, which is why many athletes and gym-goers use caffeinated pre-workout supplements. It allows them to increase the intensity, push through more difficult exercise sets, and work out more easily.


According to research, caffeine intake is linked with a lower chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In addition, regular coffee consumption could have other health benefits, including cardiovascular support, blood sugar regulation, and liver support, and it's also neuroprotective.


However, consuming too much caffeine is definitely bad for your health; overconsumption can cause arrhythmias, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, and more. So, if you're looking to detox from coffee, theacrine could very well be the perfect alternative.


Theacrine vs. Caffeine: Differences

While their mechanisms and molecular structures may be similar, a daily caffeine-centric beverage is not the same as an herbal drink with theacrine as an active energy ingredient. Some of the most notable differences between theacrine and caffeine include:


  • No tolerance – Most people need to increase caffeine dosage over time to experience the same benefits. With Theacrine, there is no tolerance build-up, so you can enjoy the constant effects without having to increase the dosage.
  • Anxiety reduction – Anxiety is one of the most common side effects of caffeine consumption. Theacrine doesn't cause anxiety. In fact, it can even improve your mood and stress responses by interacting with your brain's dopamine receptors.
  • No effects on heart rate and blood pressure – Drinking too much caffeine could temporarily increase blood flow and cause arrhythmias. However, people who don't consume caffeine regularly are at higher risk of these side effects. In comparison, theacrine doesn't affect blood pressure and heart rhythm, no matter how often you consume it.
  • Tranquil energy – Unlike caffeine, which gives you a temporary energy boost and then leaves you crashing, Theacrine provides smoother, sustained energy. The effects can last as long as 8 hours, as opposed to the 4 hours of energy that coffee offers.
  • No jitters or tremors – Caffeine could cause jitters, tremors, and other side effects. Theacrine supports your mood and energy without these adverse side effects.
  • Pain reduction – Studies in mice discovered the pain-relieving benefits of theacrine. Studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on migraine pain; however, that's because it a vasodilator, not because it's actually helping with the migraine pain. On the other hand, theacrine is an analgesic, so it actively reduces the body's pain responses.


Is Theacrine Safe?

study examining the safety of theacrine found that doses up to 300 mg per day were safe and well-tolerated. After eight weeks of daily supplementation, subjects presented no adverse effects in:


  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Liver and kidney toxicity
  • Lipid profiles
  • Immune function


In addition, this energy-boosting nootropic helped reduce total and low-density cholesterol (LDL) levels while leaving high-density-cholesterol (HDL) levels alone. LDL cholesterol is the bad stuff – it sticks to your arterial walls and builds up over time. HDL cholesterol is the good (well… less-bad) stuff – your vascular system directs it to the liver to be processed into waste.


Other studies confirmed the safety of theacrine supplementation. The only drawback could be trouble falling asleep if you take it too close to bedtime. That's why you should consume a theacrine drink earlier in the day; use it as your morning coffee alternative!


Keep in mind that we don't have enough evidence to determine the safety and efficacy of this nootropic compound for everyone. That's why people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people recovering from surgery, and people with chronic health conditions should consult a medical professional before supplementing with theacrine.


Does Theacrine Work with Other Nootropics and Adaptogens?

The good news is that theacrine is compatible with other nootropics and adaptogens, so if you are looking for all-around support, there are fantastic supplement options. For example, MTE is a healthy energy supplement in powder form that combines theacrine with eleven other nootropics, adaptogens, and superfoods to support better energy levels, mood, stress response, and much more.


This unique formulation of this daily green drink uses some of the most potent ingredients, including theacrine, to help you better deal with the stresses of everyday life, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and distraction. It helps you to restore your balance so that you feel less stressed, anxious, tired, and unfocused.


So, if you're looking for a coffee alternative for energy, stress-relief and focus, a green drink mix with theacrine will support your overall health and well-being. MTE is a perfect choice, especially if you’ve already got a greens routine like AG1!


Order MTE and discover well-rounded support for mood, focus, creativity, performance, energy, and more.

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