Smart Caffeine with anhydrous caffeine from natural sources

Smart Caffeine’s anhydrous caffeine is an ultrapure preparation of caffeine from natural sources that contains no water. In this state caffeine exists as a white powder. The use of anhydrous caffeine in pills is superior over obtaining caffeine from coffee in two ways. First it is possible to quantify and control exactly how much caffeine you are ingesting. This is impossible when drinking coffee, there is a huge variation in the caffeine content in different cups of coffee, depending on the quality of the beans, how the beans were roasted, or the method in which the coffee was prepared. With Smart Caffeine you know you are getting 100 mg of caffeine in each capsule. The second advantage is in the purity of the preparation. Many brands of coffee have contaminants and impurities, which can cause headaches or increase the jitters some people experience after drinking coffee. Smart Caffeine puts only ultra pure caffeine powder in its capsules, with no undesirable chemicals.

Caffeine is a natural chemical found in several different plants that acts as a stimulant. Coffee beans are the richest natural source of caffeine, and people have been enjoying its nootropic effects for centuries. Legend has it that it all started when a goat herd in Somalia noticed that his animals seemed a lot more energetic after consuming the berries of a certain tree. He decided to try the berries himself, and humans have been keeping themselves awake with the caffeine present in coffee ever since. Caffeine, mostly consumed as coffee, or in energy drinks, is the most popular chemical stimulant.

Caffeine is soluble in both water and lipid. It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and is able to achieve its effects of decreased fatigue, increased wakefulness and focus, and enhanced cognitive function by acting directly in the brain. In terms of molecular structure it is similar to adenosine, and it is thought that it achieves most of its effects because of its ability to bind to adenosine receptors. Even though it can bind, in place of adenosine, it cannot activate them. The end result is that caffeine inhibits the actions of adenosine by acting like a non-specific competitor.

Although we mostly think about adenosine in terms of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and energy production and storage, the nucleoside has a completely separate role as a neurotransmitter. It too can cross the blood brain barrier, and binds to adenosine receptors (there are several types) in postsynaptic neurones. One of the major functions of adenosine is to promote sleep, in fact researchers at Harvard University belief that it is the main controller of the sleep-wake cycle. The brain concentration of adenosine always rises after prolonged wakefulness, and when they reach a certain level we begin to feel very tired, and have problems staying awake. Adenosine has also been associated with hibernations in the animals that do hibernate. By binding to its receptors and preventing adenosine from activating them, we avoid that feeling of sleepiness and can carry on, fully alert and focused.

Adenosine also interacts with the other neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and its inhibition by caffeine affects the whole network. One system that caffeine acts on indirectly is the dopamine neurotransmitter, which is central to the reward and motivation system. The increase in dopamine release explains the increased focus on goals and motivation created by taking caffeine.

Not all of caffeine’s actions are explained by its actions at the adenosine receptors. It also acts as a non-selective phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor. Phosphodiesterases are enzymes that break down the second messengers cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP. Cyclic AMP plays a major role in the central nervous system, in setting up long-term potentiation (LTP). LTP is the basis of memory and learning. It seems probable that this mechanism, by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down cAMP, can explain caffeine’s action to enhance memory and cognition.  

There has been some rethinking of some of the supposed negative side effects of caffeine. For example for years it was thought that it was a strong diuretic, and many people still believe that ingesting caffeine can lead to dehydration. Fresh data suggests that although caffeine does have a diuretic function, habitual users become adopted to this, so if you are a regular coffee drinker, or user of caffeine in another form, it will not have this effect on you. However other negative side effects of high doses of caffeine do remain. These can include overstimulation, anxiety, jitters and headache. Sometimes these adverse effects are not caused by the caffeine itself, but by impurities in the beverage (like coffee). It is therefore better to take caffeine in a purified form, like Smart Caffeine’s anhydrous preparation rather than in coffee or another drink. However many of the adverse effects are caused by the direct action of caffeine as a non-specific inhibitor of adenosine and phosphodiesterase inhibitors.

Luckily these negative side effects can be modified by combining caffeine with a natural amino acid L-theanine. This combination is already present in tea, and is thought to be responsible for the calm, alert states experienced by tea drinkers. The problem with tea is that the concentrations of both caffeine and L-theanine are quite low; you would have to drink a huge number of cups of tea to gain the full benefits of an mental alertness and focus and brain function enhancement that are possible through the synergistic action of the two phytochemicals.

At high concentrations caffeine inhibits the actions of the GABA neurotransmitter. This is thought to be behind caffeine’s tendency to stimulate beta wave brain activity, which can be seen on EEG scans of people who have just consumed large doses of the alkaloid. Beta wave activity is associated with an agitated awake state, and is thought to be behind the anxiety and jitters produced by the consumption of too much caffeine.  L-theanine, on the other had, was shown to stimulate alpha waves, the brain activity that is associated with a calm alert state, and that is increased in people who meditate. Scientists have shown that when caffeine is combined with L-theanine the alpha wave activity predominates. When taking caffeine in combination with L-theanine you get all the positive effects of caffeine, the increased wakefulness, decreased fatigue, improved focus and determination, but none of the negative aspects, of anxiety and overstimulation. The two chemicals were also shown to work synergistically in enhancing cognitive function. The effect of the combination is greater than the effect of either substance alone.

The caffeine in Natural Stacks’ Smart Caffeine is in the anhydrous form, completely stripped of water. It is ultrapure and standardised, you know that you are getting exactly 100 mg of caffeine in each capsule. This is the perfect amount to result in an alert, focused mental state with improved working memory and enhanced cognitive function. Adding L-theanine to the capsules modulates caffeine’s negative side effects resulting in a calm, focused mental state.

Further Reading:

Actions of caffeine in the central nervous system:

Psychological effects of caffeine in tea:

Caffeine and increased anxiety: