Theacrine is an alkaloid molecule that appears to work in a similar way to caffeine – but with less tolerance.
Theacrine, also known as 1,3,7,9tetramethyluric acid, is a purine alkaloid found in Cupuaçu and in a Chinese tea known as kucha. It shows anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and appears to affect adenosine signalling in a manner similar to caffeine. In kucha leaves, theacrine is synthesized from caffeine in what is thought to be a three-step pathway.
Theacrine is a small alkaloid molecule that is essentially a structurally modified version of caffeine. The chemical is actually synthesized from caffeine in certain plants. These plants then accumulate theacrine, which gives us natural theacrine sources.
Theacrine has shown early promise in recent studies. It appears to offer effects similar to caffeine – but with less tolerance. That means you can continue taking theacrine in small dosages to achieve the same effects over time.
Theacrine is a natural compound that can increase mental clarity, energize workouts, and improve overall mood and motivation. It can also enhance and extend the positive effects of caffeine while minimizing its negative side effects.
2.The Extraction Method of Theacrine:
The kucha plant is related to the tea plant and grows only in the wild woods of Yunnan (China), above 1,000 meters of altitude. It has been used to make Chinese kucha tea. Kucha also contains caffeine and theobromine, and it seems that the plant produces theacrine from caffeine.
Extraction method: Kucha is super-dried, then extracted with water, and the basic lead acetate precipitated tea polyphenols and chloroform extracts are subjected to silica gel column chromatography and recrystallization to obtain Theacrine with a purity of more than 95%.
3.How Dose Theacrine work?
As mentioned above, theacrine works in a similar way to caffeine. Chemically speaking, here’s what the two chemicals look like:
— Theacrine’s chemical name is 1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid — Caffeine’s chemical name is 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
The main difference between the two chemicals is that one has an additional methyl group and an additional ketone group.
Researchers have determined that theacrine works in two primary ways: it facilitates adenosinergic neurotransmission and dopaminergic neurotransmission.
That means that theacrine enhances physical energy by causing adenosine signaling changes similar to caffeine. It also acts as a dopamine antagonist by causing dopaminergic signaling, which enhances physical energy even further.
In layman’s terms, that means theacrine boosts physical and mental energy in your body by raising levels of certain neurotransmitters – like dopamine.
4. Theacrine VS Caffeine
What makes theacrine truly unique is how it differs from caffeine. Theacrine:
Has a longer half-life
Has no effect on blood pressure
Is less likely to disrupt sleep compared to caffeine
Has reduced tolerance
Finally, theacrine and caffeine are more effective when taken together because caffeine increases the bioavailability and positive effects of theacrine in humans.
Caffeine is known to cause a comedown effect after a couple of hours, which leads to even more fatigue. This ultimately leads to drinking more coffee or taking higher doses, which causes tolerance in the long term.
Research in both animal and human has demonstrated that theacrine does not result in a fatigued crash or lead to tolerance build up over time. In a placebo-controlled study, theacrine demonstrated non-habituating effects in 60 healthy humans over 8 weeks of daily use at up to 300 mg/day.
Also unlike caffeine, theacrine doesn’t seem to affect blood pressure, cause anxiety, or lead to insomnia.
In addition, it may have benefits that caffeine doesn’t, such as decreasing inflammation and relieving pain.
However, these two compounds are more effective when taken together because caffeine increases the bioavailability and positive effects of theacrine.
5.Specification of Theacrine:
6.Applicaitons / Benefits of Theacrine:
Today, theacrine is commonly found in sports supplements like preworkout formulas. Manufacturers like using theacrine for the caffeine-like effects without the unwanted side effects of caffeine. You can find theacrine in several famous bands of health-supplements.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll see advertised in theacrine supplements:
— Physical And Mental Stimulant — Raises Dopamine Levels — Reduces Stress And Anxiety — Could Induce Thermogenesis And Facilitate Fat Burning — May Reduce Inflammation Throughout The Body — Can Be Taken For Long Periods Of Time With No Tolerance Buildup
Ultimately, theacrine is a stimulant that produces stimulant-like effects throughout the body. Theacrine tea (kucha tea) has been consumed in China for thousands of years for precisely this reason.
1) Increases Energy, Focus, and Motivation
Theacrine is a brain/nervous system stimulant that became popular in sports nutrition as a pre-workout and fat burner supplement. Reports suggest it provides a long-lasting boost of energy without the negative side effects (anxiety, insomnia, tolerance) associated with caffeine.
A study of 15 healthy humans showed that a single 200 mg dose of theacrine resulted in a subjective increase in energy, focus, concentration, willingness to exercise, motivation to train, and libido.
Another placebo-controlled study involving 20 healthy human subjects reported increased subjective feelings of attentiveness, alertness, and focus when using a supplement containing both theacrine and caffeine vs. caffeine alone.
Theacrine significantly enhances physical activity in rats, and it’s suggested that this effect is mediated by both the adenosine and dopamine systems.
2) Improves Mood and May Help with Depression
High dopamine levels result in perceived feelings of energy, improved mood, and sensations of pleasure.
Theacrine consumed at high doses activates the dopamine receptors DRD1 and DRD2.
Research also indicates that this compound increases activity in the nucleus accumbens region of the brain, which is associated with pleasure and reward.
Data on 20 healthy humans suggested a supplement containing both theacrine and caffeine may favorably impact multiple subjective feelings related to energy and mood when compared to either caffeine alone or placebo. It also decreased feelings of lethargy and grogginess.
This evidence seems to back up the anecdotal personal experiences shared by consumers when combining the two substances.
An experimental study on the antidepressant effects of theacrine concluded that it reduces depression in various tests on mice, possibly by acting on the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.
3) May Improve Sleep
A low dose of theacrine shortened wake time and increased sleep time in mice. It also reduced caffeine-induced insomnia.
In addition, theacrine markedly increased adenosine levels in the brain (hippocampus) of rats, which has sleep-promoting effects.
These results (from a rodent model) suggest that theacrine might regulate the adenosine system at lower doses to increase sleep.
4) May Reduce Inflammation and Pain
Oral consumption of theacrine reduced inflammation in mice, with a potency comparable or lesser than the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin.
The pain relieving properties of theacrine in mice were dose-dependent.
The same study showed that theacrine had acute anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, while caffeine had no effect.
5) Theacrine May Decrease Cholesterol
Polyphenols in tea can inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol and decrease blood cholesterol levels.
High-dose theacrine supplementation in 60 healthy humans reduced LDL and total cholesterol.
Similar to other studies on tea extracts, theacrine supplementation may be a viable alternative to cholesterol-lowering drugs but more research is needed in this area.
6) May Combat Stress
An investigational study demonstrated that theacrine has protective effects on liver damage induced by restraint stress in mice .
Results suggest that these protective effects of theacrine in stressed mice may be correlated with its antioxidant activity.
7.Should You Use Theacrine?
Theacrine has shown early promise as a powerful stimulant. It doesn’t seem to have the same unwanted side effects as caffeine – but provides a similar boost to your physical and mental energy.
8.Dosage, Safety, Limitations & Reviews
Theacrine appears to have a biphasic dose response, meaning that it acts as a sedative at lower doses and has stimulatory properties at higher doses [5, 4].
Recommended daily dosages in humans range from 50 to 300 mg/day.
Kucha tea, for example, contains low doses and has been used to induce relaxation.
Doses below 50 g can be considered lower and relaxation-inducing, while doses closer to 300 mg are stimulatory.
Theacrine has demonstrated clinical safety and non-habituating effects in 60 healthy humans over 8 weeks of daily use at up to 300 mg/day .
The acute toxicity in mice would equate to roughly 4 grams for an individual weighing 170 lbs .
Although it is similar in structure to caffeine, at this point more research is needed to assess the safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider or avoid theacrine during this time.
Limitations and Caveats
Theacrine is a relatively new compound on the market, and there are only a few published scientific studies that confirm a clear benefit over similar purine alkaloids such as caffeine and theobromine.
Theacrine is typically formulated as part of a multi-ingredient supplement and harder to find as a standalone supplement, making it difficult to trace the clinical benefits to one substance.
“In general, theacrine has essentially all the same effects of caffeine, but slightly weaker stimulation at the same dose, and much less noticeable negative side effects like the jitters. It also lasts about 6 hours for me, as opposed to 3-4 hours of full efficacity from caffeine.”
“As a sleep-deprived college student, 100 mg of this is enough to get me awake enough to get through class but its stimulant effects seem more clear and mild compared to caffeine. When combined with caffeine and l-theanine especially, this stuff provides a familiar buzz to most, with a slight difference in headspace.”
“Theacrine works so much better for me than caffeine. It is smoother, longer-lasting and the effects are consistent. Sometimes I mix in a bit of caffeine for a little more kick. They work very well together.”
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