I have personally tried and tested Teacrine to give you a full review of my experience of this nootropic supplement. Below is my personal experience.
What is Theacrine / TeaCrine?
Theacrine is a naturally occurring chemical compound that we find in some fruits (notably the cupuacu fruit which is indigenous to the Amazon — seems like all good things reside somewhere in the Amazon hey?!). It’s also found in some teas (it is the primary extract from the cultivated tea plant Cameillla kucha which has traditionally been used to cure colds and combat ageing) and even in some cocoa pods. New research in humans is showing that this is a pretty impressive molecule!
Stick with me here: TeaCrine is a nature-identical, chemically equivalent bioactive version of theacrine. Which means it gives you all of the same good stuff as theacrine. Studies have been largely focused on the benefits of TeaCrine.
So, what exactly does TeaCrine offer? If you’re into pre-workout supplements, you may already have come across it, either on its own, or combined with other ingredients (notably caffeine) as a potent pre-workout supplement which promises:
- Enhanced energy
- Mental clarity
- Improved cognitive ability
- Mood-boosting properties (due to its ability to increase levels of dopamine)
Kinda sounds like the benefits of caffeine doesn’t it? That’s because TeaCrine and caffeine share a very similar molecular structure and both stimulate the central nervous system, which results in increased energy.
Caffeine provides all of its incredible benefits because it can block a neurotransmitter called adenosine (which promotes relaxation and helps you feel more tired as the day goes on). So, when it’s blocked, you feel awake and alert!
TeaCrine seems to affect the brain similarly to caffeine. Due to the similar molecular structure, they are both able to boost energy and performance. So why do we bother with considering TeaCrine if we all have coffee and caffeinated tea easily accessible?
TeaCrine vs Caffeine
Both TeaCrine and caffeine can help you perform better physically, boost alertness and energy and help with focus and concentration. But here are the key differences:
- A large number of people are genetically slow metabolisers of caffeine. If you’re someone who gets the jitters from coffee, especially in high doses, this could be you. You might also experience a comedown effect a while after consuming coffee. TeaCrine is different in that it actually aids in stress reduction. Mice studies have shown that it also brings about fewer signs of long-term stress (including liver damage) when compared to coffee. Therefore, if you want the benefits of coffee with none of the jitters, TeaCrine is the answer!
- Blood pressure. One of the purported benefits of TeaCrine is that it does not result in the same spike in blood pressure that caffeine does. Caffeine may cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. While the blood pressure response to caffeine differs from person to person, it’s not an ideal situation if you’re consuming a fair amount of caffeine.
- Tolerance. Have you ever noticed that where before one or two cups of coffee did the trick, you now need three or four cups to get the job done? That’s because our bodies are building a tolerance to caffeine. Studies show that our bodies don’t produce a tolerance to TeaCrine, so you don’t need to continually increase the dose to get the same effects.
- Smooth, sustained energy. Coming back to the comedown effect of caffeine, with TeaCrine there is purported to be an absence of jitters and a more sustained release of energy. Because there is no sudden spike followed by a crash, TeaCrine is said to provide longer-lasting energy. In addition, while you shouldn’t take TeaCrine right before bedtime, it also won’t keep you awake to the same degree as caffeine.
- Pain reduction. Studies are showing that TeaCrine assists with pain reduction, which is especially valuable if you do a lot of training. Caffeine does not seem to have a similar analgesic (pain-relieving) effect.
So Which One Works the Best for You?
Does this mean that we should toss caffeine and switch to TeaCrine? Well, no! Because BOTH are better than one. Other than the fact that I just really love the taste of coffee, the majority of research tests three groups: a placebo group, a caffeine group and a caffeine plus TeaCrine group. In every instance, it was found that a combination of caffeine and TeaCrine is where the real magic happens:
- Stronger performance and work capacity which results in increased gains
- Better ability to focus (more than either compound on its own)
- Longer-lasting results and energy than when taken individually
- Fewer to no jitters experienced from caffeine when combined with TeaCrine
- Caffeine increases the bioavailability and positive effects of TeaCrine
My Review of TeaCrine
A number of the studies already referenced rely on the feedback by study participants on their experience, so it is highly subjective. While the differences relative to placebo groups are statistically significant, it really is challenging to really quantify the mood, cognitive and performance enhancing abilities of something like TeaCrine.
So, it often comes down to anecdotal evidence. As a biohacker, I like to test and quantify as much as possible. Here were my subjective thoughts from using TeaCrine:
- I have early morning HIIT sessions. I experimented with taking TeaCrine before the sessions, taking TeaCrine and coffee, taking coffee alone and taking nothing at all. It may have been that I was concentrating very hard on whether I felt any difference, but I felt a real difference in my ability to push through tough exercises and my motivation to perform better was higher. “Less sluggish” is the best way that I can describe it.
- I felt more alert from both the TeaCrine and TeaCrine plus caffeine combinations. That’s quite massive because I’m a very fast metaboliser of caffeine, so I typically don’t feel all that much from drinking coffee and I generally drink it more for the taste and the health benefits.
Buuuuut, as I’ve said, I want to see the numbers. The test for me was to see what my blood pressure did in response to TeaCrine and caffeine.
I kept variables as consistent as possible: either same or no exercise on the mornings of testing, timing the TeaCrine or caffeine at the same time in the mornings, eating the same food and having the same movement schedule. I took measurements with an at-home blood pressure monitor every 30 minutes for 3 hours after consuming TeaCrine or caffeine.
The results were super interesting and really surprised me. A healthy blood pressure for adults is generally < 120/80 (which adjusts somewhat for age):
- Average blood pressure across days on caffeine over 3-hour window: 122/82
- Average blood pressure across days on TeaCrine over 3-hour window: 114/69
The biggest blood pressure spike occurred in the 60 minutes directly after consuming caffeine, with an actual decrease in the same window for TeaCrine. I hadn’t realised what a big impact caffeine has on my blood pressure because I’ve never really felt jitters from drinking coffee in the past, so this was quite eye-opening.
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I really enjoy taking the TeaCrine. I think I prefer the combination of taking TeaCrine with caffeine because I really like the taste of coffee, but I might switch to decaf coffee more regularly now so that I can get the taste, but still enjoy the neurological benefits of coffee through TeaCrine (especially noting the stress reduction impact, mentally and on my liver) of TeaCrine when compared to caffeine. The TeaCrine had no adverse effects on my system, and I like the fact that, knowing the research behind the molecule, it gives me a mental and energy boost before exercising.
- About Author: Thea Hemstra — OPTMZ Biohacking Professional
- Thea is the founder of Neolaia — Biohacking SA and passionate about all things biohacking, functional medicine, holistic and ancestral wellness. She enjoys the occasional triathlon, is fanatic about yoga and the gym and loves n=1 biohacking experiments more than anything else! Learning about the latest in scientific research for health and wellness and applying this knowledge is what makes her happiest!