The fifth snooze alarm rings. You’ve overslept, again.
Turn on the coffee machine, or hop into the shower?
When crunched for time, more than half of American caffeine drinkers prioritize their morning cup of coffee over a shower...with almost 70% of Americans consuming at least one cup of coffee a day (1).
But why are millions opting to fire up their day with a cup of coffee?
And with game-changing caffeine pills competing with coffee culture, have these supplements shifted the way consumers choose to caffeinate?
In this article we’ll talk you through the key differences between caffeine pills and coffee to help you fit caffeine into your lifestyle for peak benefits.
But before we spill the beans, let’s learn a little more about caffeine.
What is caffeine
Caffeine is a natural stimulant - found in tea, coffee, chocolate and a variety of other beverages.
The concentration of naturally occurring caffeine varies depending on the source. For example, a cup of coffee may contain 100-200mg per serving, whereas a cacao drink only contains as little as 2mg at the same size.
Not sure how much caffeine is in your favorite drink?
Stay on track and measure your intake with the following guide:
- Green tea per cup: 28mg
- Black tea per cup: 26mg
- Dark chocolate per 1 oz square: 24mg
- Espresso per shot: 63mg
- Energy drinks per cup: 91mg
- Coffee per cup: 95mg
- Decaf coffee per cup: 7mg
- Fizzy sodas per 16oz bottle: 49mg
Often unrecognized, many people forget that caffeine is not just found in coffee.
As a result, measuring hidden caffeine found in other uncommon sources is important to avoid side effects of caffeine overstimulation.
How does caffeine work? The science explained...
We are all familiar with the perk-me-up effects of caffeine, but how exactly does it work?
Caffeine works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system to prevent tiredness and promote focus.This stimulant is absorbed within 45 minutes by the body and reaches its peak within 1 hour.
Structurally, caffeine is quite similar to adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter (chemical) that is found in all of our cells.
What is adenosine?
Adenosine functions to suppress the central nervous system - i.e. slowing down our nerve activity to induce drowsiness.
The longer you are awake, the higher the levels of adenosine levels are in your brain, making you less alert as the day goes on.
How does caffeine relate to adenosine?
This is where the power of caffeine kicks in.
To a nerve cell, caffeine and adenosine look the same. When caffeine is absorbed, it has the ability to bind to adenosine receptors on the nerve cell, inhibiting the effects of adenosine to suppress nerve activity.
Blocking adenosine by caffeine causes a rapid increase of excitatory chemicals in the brain. Instead of slowing down because of adenosine, caffeine revs up the cells to boost concentration and focus.
How much caffeine should I consume?
While some people can have a couple of espresso shots and feel fine - others can be highly sensitive to caffeine and experience jitters after a small cup.
According to the FDA, up to 400mg of caffeine per day is the safe spot for healthy adults - that’s the equivalent of about 3-4 cups of coffee.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should aim to reach that level.
Caffeine tolerance and metabolism is highly individual, so taking up to 400mg is not for everyone.
Key Point: If you are unsure of how much caffeine you should have, start at 50mg and work up incrementally until you fine-tune the dose that is best for you.
Health effects of caffeine
There’s more to caffeine than keeping you awake. In fact, a large pool of evidence displays the multitude of benefits of caffeine on health and wellbeing.
Benefits of caffeine:
- Improve working memory
- Boost focus and energy levels
- Enhance mental performance
- Increase production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters
- Suppress appetite for weight control
- Improve exercise performance
Promising research studies have also shown that caffeine in certain doses may protect against chronic diseases - namely type two diabetes and heart disease (2).
Negative effects of caffeine:
Although caffeine consumption is generally safe and beneficial in small doses, the other end of the spectrum also exists - there are drawbacks.
Like any drug, everyone’s response to caffeine varies - while some people can handle 3 cups of coffee a day, others may feel over-the-edge after just one.
However, all coffee drinkers experience the dreaded caffeine crash.
One of the most common immediate side effects of caffeine, energy crashes occur 3-4 hours after consumption.
Similar to sugar, caffeine causes a temporary energy surge when consumed. Once metabolised, energy levels quickly dip resulting in tiredness and fatigue.
Therefore, finding a way to level caffeine’s effects on energy can prevent the yo-yo of fatigue and stimulation.
But it’s not just about the energy roller coaster...
Overstimulation with caffeine may cause further side effects including:
- Jitters and irritability
- Anxiety and heart palpitations
- Trouble sleeping
- Migraines and high blood pressure
- Reduction in nutrient absorption
- Acid reflux
- Digestive issues and upset stomach
- Dehydration (as caffeine is a diuretic that causes fluid loss)
Caffeine dependence is incredibly common in coffee drinkers.
When that morning cup of coffee quickly becomes a habit, you may find it very hard to cut back your intake. In fact, you can develop a caffeine tolerance in as little as 3 days of drinking a cup of coffee per day (3).
How do you build a tolerance to caffeine?
As you drink more and more coffee, you start building up a tolerance - ie. the effects of caffeine slowly decrease with regular consumption.
Tolerance to caffeine results in a reduction of its stimulatory effects. In turn decreasing the benefits often experienced in exercise performance and mental alertness.
Cutting back to reset caffeine tolerance can be difficult - where many consumers report that they can’t function without their daily cup of coffee.
Reducing your caffeine intake can cause withdrawal symptoms that often last 2-9 days depending on the level of dependency.
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms typically occur around 12 hours after your last cup of coffee or tea.
You may experience mental and physical symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, including:
- Fatigue and grogginess
- Poor concentration levels
- Shifts in mood
- Flu-like symptoms
How to avoid caffeine's side effects
Because of caffeine’s drawbacks and withdrawal symptoms, switching to a cleaner caffeine alternative such as stimulant supplements is more effective to precisely control your caffeine levels and offset the negative side effects.
Additionally, slowly reducing your caffeine intake will probably be easier on your body than going cold turkey. Wean yourself off coffee gradually to pinpoint your ideal dose for maximum benefits.
Caffeine Pills vs Coffee: Which is Best for You?
Is there a difference between having caffeine in a drink vs a capsule?
There is...but first, let’s see what each rival brings to the table.
Advantages of coffee
- Majority of coffee drinkers enjoy the experience of drinking a hot beverage - which has become a staple in daily lifestyle activities such as social gatherings.
- Coffee drinkers enjoy the taste of the beverage.
- Coffee contains antioxidant compounds that may reduce risks of chronic diseases.
Disadvantages of coffee
- Coffee stains teeth when consumed regularly.
- Caffeinated beverages are often consumed with sugar, syrups and milk which can increase the calorific value of the drink.
- Terpene oils in unfiltered coffee may raise cholesterol levels.
- Hard to keep track of caffeine intake as the amount of caffeine varies significantly between different coffee types/drinks.
- Energy crashes occur after drinking highly-caffeinated drinks.
- Accumulative cost of coffee consumption is high.
Advantages of caffeine pills
- Precise dose of caffeine per capsule.
- No teeth-staining from caffeine pills.
- Cheaper than consuming coffee.
- Balanced formulations that incorporate L-theanine offset caffeine’s negative side effects.
Disadvantages of caffeine pills
- Some caffeine pills on the market may offer doses that are too high to take for sensitive individuals.
- Standalone caffeine pills will cause energy crashes if not balanced with L-theanine.
- Low quality caffeine pills may contain unnecessary excipients, binders and fillers that are harmful for long-term consumption
Caffeine pills and coffee share some benefits, but when it comes to the cons, coffee falls short - particularly when compared to high quality caffeine supplements.
While both may be favored for different situations, high quality caffeine supplements can be safer than consuming coffee regularly.
- This is mainly because you can precisely measure the dose of caffeine that you are consuming - removing the risk of caffeine overstimulation.
- Additionally, balanced caffeine pills eliminate the side effects often experienced from drinking coffee - such as jitters, fatigue and energy slumps.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to quit drinking your fresh latte on a Monday morning.
Both can be safely slotted into your lifestyle in moderation.
Because many enjoy coffee culture, you can opt to consume coffee and caffeine pills in different applications to reap the biggest benefits with no compromises or negative side effects.
Ultramodern Caffeine Pill:
Performance LabⓇ Stim
- Energy boosts without any risks of side effects - with a sensible but effective 50mg caffeine per serving, Stim won't put you at risk of jitters or energy crashes.
- 3-in-1 formula that supports peak stimulation and healthier recovery - Stim contains B-Vitamins in the exact amounts that caffeine has shown to deplete them, keeping your body optimally fueled.
- Stay in complete control of your caffeine intake - be confident knowing you're consuming exactly 50mg caffeine per serving, while being able to take additional servings if you have a higher tolerance.
Performance LabⓇ Stim is an optimized and performance-tuned caffeine capsule.
It delivers a carefully-calibrated formula of balanced caffeine for a clean, relaxed energy - without the negative side effects of caffeine.
The formula stars natural caffeine and L-theanine in a ratio-balanced, evidence-based dose. And also includes a restorative B-vitamin complex and L-tyrosine to support healthy cognitive recovery and energy.
How to use:
Take one capsule of Stim for stimulation. This formula is scalable, meaning you can safely have up to 5 capsules per day (250mg).
When consumed moderately, caffeine can have powerful effects on your mental and physical performance.
However, regular consumption of coffee may cause negative effects that can be avoided by taking a balanced caffeine formula such as Performance LabⓇ Stim
Remember to consume caffeine within safe limits to prevent overstimulation. Consult a healthcare practitioner if you suffer from any conditions before taking a caffeine supplement.