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 the potential of theacrine really stands out. It's seemingly a perfect coffee replacement because it may offer all the benefits of caffeine without 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 are believed to 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, so it also works by targeting specific receptors in your brain. After consumption, people report feeling more focused, motivated and energized but in a 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 heart-pounding, jitters and crash of caffeine. 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 may be the perfect substitute for tea and coffee because it seems to promote sustained energy without the drawbacks of coffee and energy drinks. In addition, there is no indication this alkaloid raises your blood pressure or heart rate, and there's no evidence the body will build a tolerance to it like caffeine.


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


Promotes Sustained Energy

Theacrine doesn't overstimulate the way caffeine and sugar bombs do. In fact, it should promotes a calm, continuous flow of energy that helps you stay alert throughout the day without all the hangry jitters and unease. As a result, theacrine can support you finishing that important assignment, work report, gaming session, or workout without feeling like you need a nap afterward.


That's because it appears to work differently than caffeine, gently modulating levels of ALERT and TIRED neurotransmitters, where caffeine just jams itself in the middle of everything and only let's the ALERT neurochemicals talk, creating an angry neurochemical mob of energy that dissipates just as violently as it began.


When the caffeine is all gone, all the TIRED signalers and their receptors are all that's left, and you can bet those ALERT signalers have been depleted. Ergo: crash. Theacrine's less heavy-handed approach prevents this energy whiplash.


Research reports that people who consume theacrine report feeling more energized and motivated while feeling less groggy and lethargic. It follows that if you don't feel like crap you're more likely to go and get stuff done.


However, keep in mind that theacrine works a little slower than caffeine, as its half-life is longer once it's in the bloodstream. 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.


Supports Cognitive Performance

pilot study published in 2022 saw supplementation with theacrine improve cognitive parameters in addition to energy-boosting benefits. People taking the supplements in the study showed better self-reported concentration, alertness and attentiveness. 


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


Promotes Athletic 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? Athletes sure seem to think so. People take theacrine to boost energy and reduce fatigue. A daily pre-workout scoop of a 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. They observed this supplement 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.


Supports Against Inflammation

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 documented anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.


Theacrine may help reduce inflammation in your body and act as an analgesic, which could be vital in promoting faster recovery and maintaining optimal health.


Promotes Mood Health

One way that theacrine works is by binding to specific receptors in your brain responsible for feelings of motivation, pleasure and satisfaction. When theacrine communicates with these receptors, it signals your brain to produce more of those feel-good chemicals. This can contribute to improved 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 chronic distress. A new study using mice as subjects also supported theacrine's mood elevating 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 receptor that receive fatigue signals, 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 touted benefits for your health, including increased energy and reduced fatigue, which can help promote better mental and physical performance. Caffeine is also used to support your metabolism and promote endurance, which is why many athletes and gym-goers use caffeinated pre-workout supplements to support pushing through those last 12 reps or adding another plate or two to that barbell.


According to research, caffeine intake has been 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 may also be neuroprotective.


However, consuming too much caffeine is definitely bad for your health; overconsumption may cause arrhythmias, sleep problems, apprehension, 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 the 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. Theacrine, so far, has not demonstrated any habituation properties.
  • Stress reduction – Increased reactivity to stress is one of the most commonly reported side effects of caffeine consumption. Theacrine does not demonstrate the same effects, and may even have the opposite effect via neuronal activity involving mood and reward.
  • No effects on heart rate and blood pressure – Drinking too much caffeine could temporarily increase blood flow and cause arrhythmias. And people who don't consume caffeine regularly are at higher risk of these adverse effects. In comparison, theacrine has not shown a tendency to affect blood pressure or heart rhythm.
  • Tranquil energy – Unlike caffeine, which can give you a temporary energy boost and then leaves you crashing, theacrine may provide 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 unpleasant sensations. Since theacrine stimulates the CNS in a much gentler way, users don't commonly report experiencing these types of effects.
  • Pain reduction – Studies in mice indicated theacrine may also have pain-relieving benefits. Studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on migraine pain; however, that's likely because it a vasodilator, not because it's actually helping with the migraine pain. On the other hand, theacrine is believed to be an analgesic, so it may actively reduce the body's pain responses.


Is Theacrine Safe?

study examining the safety of theacrine found that doses up to 300mg 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 support 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, recovering from surgery, or dealing with chronic health conditions should consult a medical professional before supplementing with theacrine.


Does Theacrine Work with Other Nootropics & 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. MTE is a healthy energy supplement in powder form that combines theacrine with 12 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 bioactive ingredients, including theacrine, to help you better deal with the stresses of everyday life, fatigue, recovery, and distraction. It helps you to restore your balance so that you feel less stressed,  tired and unfocused.


So, if you're looking for a coffee alternative for energy, stress-relief and focus, a daily energy greens supplement with theacrine can 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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