In the Nootropic world, caffeine has been one of the most popular supplements being taken today. But, is Caffeine really considered a nootropic? Technically, Caffeine is not a nootropic instead, it is considered a stimulant. Meaning to say, it stimulates our Central Nervous System and temporarily increases one’s alertness. As a result, it delivers nootropic-like benefits since the individual will feel more motivated and will have an increase in attention span and focus in doing mentally challenging activities.
But, is the term Caffeine synonymous to Coffee only? No it is not. Some might believe that Caffeine solely refers to Coffee this is because of the fact that Coffee has the highest content of Caffeine among all the other foods and beverages. The soda you are drinking and your favorite chocolate bars in the market all have significant amounts of Caffeine in it. You might to be aware of it but some other foods and drinks that have Caffeine contents include tea, berries, cocoa, kola nut, and among many others.
Caffeine is one of the most widely used legal stimulants today. But what are the other benefits that Caffeine may provide us? Let us now know the benefits and how Caffeine works in our body.
One mechanism of action through which Caffeine delivers its effects is its relation with Adenosine. Adenosine is a purine nucleoside that plays an important role in some biochemical processes in the body such as energy transfer involving Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP), and in signal transduction. Moreover, it plays a role in the promotion of sleep and suppressing arousal as well as in the regulation of blood flow to the body’s different organs through vasodilation (1). It also makes sure that our nervous system will not get over-excited. Now, Caffeine acts as replacement for Adenosine and acts by mimicking the nucleoside but this time, in reverse. But when Caffeine and Adenosine targets the same receptor site, Caffeine wins.2. Caffeine and Dopamine
With Caffeine targeting on different receptor sites, it serves to influence some key neurotransmitters and one of which is Dopamine. The levels of Dopamine are increased within the brain and as we all know, Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for an individual’s memory and learning capabilities, attention, pleasurable reward, behaviour and cognition, and most especially for mood and sleep (2). With an increased level of this neurotransmitter, there will be a significant improvement in one’s mood and cognitive abilities. It may also be of great help to deal efficiently with stress, anxiety, depression, and even signs of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Caffeine’s effect on Dopamine is attributed for feelings of pleasure when you take a sip of your daily coffee. Moreover, this is the reason why you feel so focused and motivated when doing your tasks. Caffeine works just like Heroin and Cocaine but, to a much lesser degree. This is because they work to increase the levels of circulating Dopamine within the brain.
Because of the two mechanisms through which Caffeine works in our system, the result would be an improvement in memory, mood and cognition. This includes an increase in alertness, motivation, focus, and concentration in doing specific tasks. Not only does it provide a significant boost in mental energy but as well as influencing physical performance. In relation to that, Caffeine is also being consumed by athletes, weight lifters, and other active individuals as a pre-work out supplement. This is still attributed to Caffeine in increasing one’s alertness and motivation. Moreover, some people prefer Caffeine over other workout supplements since it gives you the enough kick you need and not making you overly confident that in a way or another, might lead you to some injuries.
Aside from the mental and physical boost Caffeine provides, some researchers have claimed that it may be of benefit to the medical field. A study noted that regular coffee drinkers were 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease as Caffeine might have neuroprotective properties. Aside from that, caffeine decreases the risk of having liver and colon cancer and poses to be of treatment for asthma and headaches. However, further researches and clinical trials should still be conducted regarding the efficacy of Caffeine in the treatment of certain conditions.
It is very crucial for any drug or supplement to be taken at the right amount and frequency for it to produce the desired effects while possibly eliminating or minimizing the undesired ones. With the case of Caffeine, how much of it do we really need each day? The average daily consumption varies greatly among individuals since people consume Caffeine at different levels. However, it is recommended that Caffeine should not be taken beyond 300 mg daily. This dose is around 3 to 4 cups of coffee.
Since there is a possibility to build tolerance when Caffeine is consumed daily, it would be best to cycle its use. It is also adviceable to take it only as needed. In this way, you will ensure that its benefits will be experienced and that your body will not easily accommodate.
When starting with any new drug or supplement, it would be best to start off with the lowest possible dose to see how you respond and then gradually increasing it over time. You might also want to consider consulting your doctor or healthcare provider first since a person’s condition and health status may play a role.2. Stacking Caffeine
Stacking has been a popular practice nowadays. This is done for the purpose of maximizing a drug’s potential and also, in order to yield more positive effects, to synergize each other, or to eliminate or minimize the side effects that the drugs may provide. With the case of Caffeine, what drugs and supplements are best to use in conjunction to it? One of the most popular stacks today is the Caffeine and L-Theanine stack. With the addition of L-Theanine, there will be improvement in mood as well as the promotion of a relaxed and calm state of mind. Moreover, L-Theanine serves to neutralize or diminish the side effects of Caffeine. In this way, the common jiiters, nervousness, and other adverse effects will not interfere with your mental and physical performances. With L-Theanine and Caffeine working together, they potentiate each other and serve to enhance their effects, giving you a clearer and sharper mind. This stack is of great benefit to students and professionals who need a perfect study or work aid.
Now if you wanted a more significant step up in your cognitive function, you might want to stack Caffeine with the other potent nootropics available today. This may include Pramiracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Noopept, and among many others.
Having a thorough understanding of the drugs you wanted to have in a stack is important because some drugs might not go well with the others. Just like in the case of Caffeine, it should not be stacked along with medications that promote drowsiness since their effects are antagonistic to each other and may lead to lesser results. Stacking supplements greatly depends on your needs and personal preferences however, it would bebest to consult your doctor or healthcare provider first.
When used at the recommended dosage, Caffeine is considered to be safe to use and is well tolerated. However, some people may respond differently especially when taken beyond 300 mg dose. Caffeine side effects may include jitters, anxiety, nervousness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and rapid or irregular heartbeats.
Since Caffeine has a half-life of about 6 hours, it is best no to take it after midday since it may interfere with your sleeping at night. Although some people may fall asleep without any difficulty even after drinking coffee, it may still interfere with your deep sleep. As part of the bulletproof diet, Dave Asprey has recommended that caffeine should not be consumed after 2pm for the best sleep.
For some individuals, when Caffeine starts to wear off or when they withdraw from Caffeine intake, they may experience restlessness, fatigue, and depression.References:
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