Intense, grueling workouts require a solid source of energy, preferably something sustained that doesn’t come with a crash later in the day. As an athlete progresses to higher levels of performance, these demands become even greater. When looking for an exogenous source of energy, caffeine is often the go-to choice. As a supplement, caffeine is proven to be effective at increasing energy, but it’s not the only option.
Theacrine, a purine alkaloid, is similar in structure to caffeine and stimulates the same signals in the body to produce energy. Looking deeper into theacrine, it offers a number of benefits which make it a salient ingredient for a pre-workout supplement. Not only does TeaCrine boost energy, but it’s also known to improve endurance and heighten focus and attention—all critical factors in an effective training session.
TeaCrine® is the patented version of theacrine, which can be found in the pre-workout, Hosstility®.
TeaCrine is most known for its ability to impact the nervous system, resulting in increased energy, alertness, and mood. While these effects sound identical to caffeine, TeaCrine has some differences. Both compounds work by impacting adenosine, but caffeine does so in a more direct way, effectively stopping the release of fatigue signals so you feel more energetic. When caffeine’s effects wear off and the body releases a flood of fatigue signals, users often experience a crash in energy. TeaCrine increases feelings of energy in a subtler way, where adenosine is still released, but at a much lower frequency. This helps create a smoother, crash-free effect.
In terms of physiological effects, the main difference between TeaCrine and caffeine is the stimulation of the cardiovascular system. Caffeine users are familiar with the physiological side effects that come with it, such as an increased heart rate and the jitters. As TeaCrine isn’t a stimulant in the same sense, these cardiovascular system impacts don’t occur. You won’t feel your heart racing due to a spike in your blood pressure, and you won’t see your hands shaking after using it—alleviating this stress on your cardiovascular system.
When it comes to mood and motivation, TeaCrine enhances them by activating dopamine receptors. With these receptors “awakened,” more dopamine can be received, which plays a role in the brain’s pleasure and reward systems. A similar reaction occurs naturally in the body when exercising, and the addition of TeaCrine enhances these effects and kickstarts them before the workout starts.
Another key benefit of TeaCrine is that the body doesn’t build up tolerance. Because adenosine is still active, the body doesn’t need to produce more. This allows the same dose of TeaCrine to remain effective at boosting your feelings of energy. Over time, caffeine’s effects on adenosine leave you needing more caffeine to yield the same impact. While caffeine has also been found to be habit-forming, TeaCrine has not.
Interestingly, while these two compounds work differently, they work synergistically. Caffeine actually increases the bioavailability of TeaCrine. The higher the bioavailability of an ingredient, the more the body can uptake and utilize, making it more effective.
The two complement each other whereby caffeine gets to work quickly to spike your energy, and TeaCrine provides smoother, longer-lasting effects. In fact, TeaCrine’s effects can last anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the user. As pre-workout ingredients, this ensures an athlete has the energy from the start of the session, right through to the final rep.
Further, the efficacy of each ingredient to improve your workout is compounded when used together. Alone, these ingredients have been found to play a role in sharpening focus, improving mood, and boosting endurance, as reported by users. When paired together, these effects are enhanced and prolonged. The combination of these ingredients is a prime example where two is better than one.
Frequent and taxing training sessions place a greater demand on the body’s energy stores. Over time, these demands can make it more challenging to get motivated to train, and difficult to put full effort into every rep. Supplementing with smart sources of energy, such as TeaCrine, will go a long way for your performance. If you’re looking for a well-rounded boost in both energy, focus, and mood to fuel your training sessions, the combination of TeaCrine® and caffeine fits the bill.
He, H., Ma, D., Crone, LB, et al. Assessment of the drug-drug interaction potential between theacrine and caffeine in humans. J Caffeine Res. 7, 3 (2017). doi: 10.1089/jcr2017.006
Kuhman, D.J., Joyner, K. J., & Bloomer, R.J. Cognitive performance and mood following ingestion of a theacrine-containing dietary supplement, caffeine, or placebo by young men and women. Nutrients 7, 11 (2015). doi: 10.3390/nu7115484
Taylor, L., Mumford, P., Roberts, M. et al. Safety of TeaCrine®, a non-habituating, naturally-occurring purine alkaloid over eight weeks of continuous use. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 13, 2 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-016-0113-3