When looking for a new pre workout supplement you have may seen the ingredient TeaCrine on the back of the label on the supplement facts panel. TeaCrine® is a nature-identical, chemically equivalent bioactive version of theacrine. Theacrine is a purine alkaloid with a similar structure to caffeine found in the Kucha tea leaf. Theacrine is converted from caffeine by hydration, oxidation, and methylation. Studies have shown that Teacrine, a patented compound made and isolated from the Kucha leaf, can help boost energy, enhance mood and focus, and improve performance while decreasing fatigue. We’re going to talk more about what TeaCrine is and how this ingredient can help you improve performance.
TeaCrine®is an isolated nature-identical bioactive and patented version of Theacrine. Theacrine, is a purine alkaloid found in the Kucha tea leaf. Kucha is native to Southwest China popularly used in ancient medicine, as an anti-inflammatory and used for wound care.
Kucha is rich in caffeine and theobromine. Tea plants range between 25-45mg/g of caffeine and theobromine has a wide range from 0.5 mg/g – 46.7 mg/g (R).
Theacrine can influence the central nervous system as a neuroactive compound, enhancing mood state, increase energy production, and heighten mental focus.
TeaCrine like caffeine has a directly effects the central nervous system. However, it has a unique ability to enhance cognitive performance and physical performance, with non-habituating effects.
When compared to caffeine, theacrine has a longer half-life and onset of action, at approximately 2 hours has been shown to increase mood and subjective measures of cognitive function with no adverse side effects or habituation (R).
Mechanistically, TeaCrine’s multi-faceted effects come from two neural pathways: dopaminergic and adenosinergic pathways. Theacrine activates dopamine receptors D1 and D2, supporting dopaminergic signaling.
In addition to the dopamine boosting effects, TeaCrine is also thought to inhibit adenosinergic activity. Adenosine plays an imperative role in biochemical processes, that promote fatigue and relaxation. By inhibiting the activity of adenosine receptors, TeaCrine may help delay perceived feelings of fatigue (R).
Thus, Theacrine is thought to act through both adenosine and dopamine systems to provide a mild stimulant effect, as well as a calming effect (R).
TeaCrine has been evaluated in more than six human clinical trials. Clinical results are shown below.
TeaCrine has been shown to effect dopamine receptors. Dopamine is commonly known as your “feel-good hormone”. Exercise, sex, or activities that make you feel good, like shopping, or sky-diving release dopamine. Studies show that elevated levels of dopamine, result in perceived feelings of energy, improved mood state, sensations of pleasure, increased motivation, and better mental focus and clarity.
TeaCrine contains caffeine and promotes greater energy levels with no habituation, adaptation, jitters, or irritability often found with caffeine. Studies have shown that TeaCrine’s half-life is longer than caffeine, enhancing sustained energy for 4-8 hours, as opposed to caffeine’s at 1-2 hours.
Studies have shown that TeaCrine does help increase time to exhaustion, delay muscle fatigue and improve athletic performance (R).
Both caffeine and TeaCrine taken alone have been shown to increase energy and time to exhaustion. Studies have shown however, that TeaCrine and caffeine taken together are complementary and improve focus, mental alertness, and energy more so when used in combination.
A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that 15 subjects delivered at an acute dose of 200 mg promoted a significant increase in energy, and a reduction in fatigue as compared to placebo.
Ingredients such as TeaCrine can improve performance by inhibiting and reducing mental fatigue, while promoting energy and focus. Enhancing coginitive function and focus, and reducing fatigue, without the “crash” often associated with caffeine, producing long lasting sustained energy without habituation could improve one’s athletic performance to sustain a higher level of competitiveness.
Studies have shown that TeaCrine in combination with caffeine may increase exercise capacity and muscular endurance as compared to caffeine alone (R).
A study investigating the effects of of TeaCrine® and caffeine on endurance and cognitive performance during a simulated match in high-level soccer players
TeaCrine® favorably impacts endurance and the combination with caffeine provides greater benefits on cognitive function than either supplement independently and increased run time to exhaustion by 27–38% (R).