Haling out of California, Compound Solutions is one of the hottest names in ingredients in today’s sports nutrition
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that the aforementioned ingredients of DMAA, DMAA (amp citrate) and DMHA are all technically designer, synthetic stimulants and not dietary supplements. Regardless, while being on the market for a substantial amount of time, the issue is that many want the feel and energy that they deliver and now that they have been removed, there is somewhat of a void to fill. That is where TeaCrine, Caffeine and Dynamine have emerged to fill the void to a large degree.
The scope of this article will examine just what TeaCrine and Dynamine are and a brush up on caffeine or even help you learn something new about it.
Probably not on your list of ‘hip, new and exciting’ but caffeine has been around for a long, long time and remains one of the most popular ingredients for a simple fact: It works. Research study after research study has proven it’s efficacy as an effective ingredient and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Adding to that, other ingredients such as TeaCrine and Dynamine stack perfectly with caffeine and have a synergistic effect.
Caffeine, known chemically as 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, is a often times made from the seeds and leaves of coffee plants but can also be created synthetically in a lab. There is no noted data signifying any difference physiologically between the natural and synthetic version. Regarded as the “world’s most popular drug”, it has been estimated that 92-98% of the population in North America alone consume some form of caffeine (1). The average daily intake has been estimated within that population to be 193mg or 1.2mg/kg bodyweight per day (2). On a World-wide basis, the populations of Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Sweden appearing to have the top intake at over 300mg/day (3).
Caffeine \has been shown to include an array of benefits regarding improving performance. Such positive effects include potentiation of skeletal muscle force, work and power (4), enhanced vigilance during bouts of extended exhaustive exercise, as well as periods of sustained sleep deprivation (5), improvements in motor learning and short term memory (6) and enhanced lipolysis with a decreased reliance on glycogen utilization (7). There are also notable increases in literature regarding caffeine to improve fatty acid oxidation (8) and increased caloric burn via an enhanced metabolic rate (9). Caffeine also is strongly supported in research for its positive cognitive performance enhancement effects. It has been shown to support a variety of positive benefits including a decrease in perceived exertion (10), enhanced wakefulness/suppressed sedation (11) and improved subjective well-being and mood state (12).
Forms of Caffeine
For the scope of this article, it is also important to recognize that there are a variety of caffeine sources that are commonly used in both sports nutrition and general application. Both synthetic and botanical sources exist and they can be marketed and labeled as a variety of different names.
Easily the most common caffeine source used in the world, caffeine anhydrous is a low cost, but effective synthetic caffeine source. It is also important to note that a large majority of research studies in existence for caffeine are based upon studies that utilize caffeine anhydrous as the ‘gold standard’. Per milligram, caffeine anhydrous contains 98.5% caffeine.
Known by the branded ingredient name, Infinergy, dicaffaine malate is a caffeine that has been bonded to malic acid. It is marketed to be a form of caffeine that delivers the effects of caffeine anhydrous but prevents the potential stomach issues that some experience weight higher doses of anhydrous, though this is just speculation and not research proven. Dicaffeine malate contains around 65-70% caffeine per gram of material.
Caffeine citrate is a form of caffeine that is created by combining caffeine anhydrous with citric acid monohydrate and sodium citrate dihydrate. It is technically classified as a drug and for this reason has been removed for the most part from use in dietary supplements. It is reported to act faster than traditional caffeine anhydrous and is more soluble, however it is also less stable and the material contains 45-55% caffeine per milligram.
Botanically known as Paullinia cupana, Guarana is a generally water soluble caffeine source that also doubles as a flavoring component. It is often noted to be resemblant of tangerine or other citrus fruits and provides a fruity aroma as well. There is specific data indicating that guarana can help improve mood, energy and overall cognition, independent of caffeine content (13). There is approximately 7.6% caffeine content of total material naturally occurring in Guarana (14).
Known botanically as camellia sinesis, green tea extract is one of the most popular forms of natural caffeine. One should note that the caffeine content depends entirely on what extract level is used in the product, but on average the caffeine content of green tea extract is 4.8-9.3% of the total material (15).
Known commonly by its full name, Yerba Mate, his botanical source is like Camellia sinesis (green tea) and is most often consumed as a tea as well as a dietary ingredient. It has been researched in rodent models and offers promise for benefits regarding inflammation, obesity and antioxidant properties (16). Roughly 2% of the total yerba mate material is caffeine by nature (17).
Also listed as its full name, Coffea arabica, coffee extract is one of the most popular sources for natural caffeine and for many, there is a logical connection of coffee based things and caffeine. There is a wide range of concentration of caffeine content that is possible with caffeine from concentrated extract being as high as 98% caffeine, while the naturally occurring and non-standardized version having only 2% caffeine content (18).
Not a typically significantly abundant source of caffeine usually unless it is an extract that is standardized to 10-20%, Kola is most often used due to its unique nutty taste and odor. There is concern that usage of kola extract at .74mg/kg of bodyweight a day over the course of six weeks can cause some negative issues such as reduced testosterone and sperm count in rats, though it hasn’t been replicated in humans (19). Standard caffeine content for non-concentrated material is roughly 2.5% caffeine.
Theacrine (TeaCrine) known chemically as 1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid, is a small alkaloid that has similar structure to the well-known, naturally occurring compound caffeine. While appearing to be similar in structure on many levels, or even synthesized from caffeine, there are several key differences that set it apart. It is found in a variety of plants, but most notably camellia assamica, more specifically a tea known as kucha which appears to contain the highest levels in nature at 1.8+/-0.05% of the leaves when measured in dry weight (20). It appears to parallel caffeine in regard to mechanisms, providing a stimulatory effect at higher doses and a sedative effect when ingested at low doses (10-30mg/kg) (21).
It has many mechanisms that parallel that of caffeine including a stimulatory effect at higher doses, though at this time a peak level via oral dose for stimulatory effect is unknown (22). Like caffeine, TeaCrine also appears to have a sedative effect at doses of 10-30mg/kg oral ingestion. One such study compared TeaCrine to caffeine at similar doses and it demonstrated TeaCrine’s ability to prolong phenobarbital induced sleep time while the caffeine had notable anti-sleep properties (23).
One critical point of TeaCrine supplementation that makes it especially attractive to the sports nutrition market regarding stimulatory effects is that unlike caffeine, the body doesn’t appear to show signs of adaptation from repeated use (24). TeaCrine also has been shown in studies to help with the aspect of mood elevation with one such study showing that single dose of TeaCrine has the ability to elevate levels of dopamine in the brain (22). Lastly, though research is ongoing, there is also promise for TeaCrine exhibiting anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in the body (25).
TeaCrine is interesting as it can be considered a biphasic ingredient when it comes to dosage. At low doses, it can have a sedative effect while when taken at higher amounts, it has a stimulatory response. Doses at less than 50mg/day are considered for the sedative effect while toward the 300mg mark is stimulatory. It should also be noted that TeaCrine is used at times to smooth out, and prevent a caffeine crash when used at lower doses along with higher doses of caffeine.
Now that we have a thorough understanding of TeaCrine, let’s dive into Dynamine, known chemically as 2-methoxy-1,7,9-trimethyluric acid. Similar in structure and being an alkaloid found in the Kucha leaf, Dynamine is also known as methylliberine. Now before proceeding, it is important to note that at the time this article was written, the studies for Dynamine were currently ongoing, therefore, benefits and effects are considered anecdotal. With that being said, it has many of the same properties as TeaCrine including increases in energy, mood and over all mental focus via working to activate dopamine receptors while concurrently inhibiting adenosine receptors.
The aspect of how it interacts with the adenosine receptors is critical as caffeine works in similar action. The huge difference is that unlike caffeine, Dynamine is more targeted rather than blocking the entire receptor. This allows it to have the ‘kick’ desired in a stimulant product yet prevent habituation that is seen with caffeine. It is also said to deliver these benefits without the increasing heart rate or blood pressure, which is a huge plus for high exertion activities.
There is no ‘official’ recommended dosage for Dynamine currently as it is still under research evaluation for efficacy. However with that being said, there is a general recommendation and common practice of dosing it at 100-200mg. Combining with other stimulating sources can alter this dosage to have it require more and work synergistically.
TeaCrine vs. Dynamine
Now, while these two ingredients are very similar, there are some distinct differences between the two. A brief overview of each can help clarify the difference between these two compounds.
TeaCrine generally has a duration of effect of 5-6 hours and can be summarized as clean, sustained mental and physical energy with properties of mood enhancement. Effects are generally felt within 60 minutes.
Dynamine on the other hand is more in line with the ‘harder hitting’ stimulant category, having an onset of effect within 30 minutes. The primary properties include clean, rapid energy, motivation and focus and the effects last for around 3 hours.
The Three Amigos – Stacking Dynamine, TeaCrine and Caffeine
Now that we understand the mechanisms of these three ingredients, let’s takt a look at stacking the 3. If we consider the uniqe effects of each, it only makes sense that the three combined together would make sense. In the simplest of explanations, from the inclusion of Dynamine and Caffeine, you get the immediate, hard hitting increase in focus and energy that you are accustomed to. The inclusion of TeaCrine is the addition that makes it a sustained energy source and prevents a ‘crash’ from the caffeine for one, and also keep the energy going after the more immediate effect of the Dynamine has worn off. This stack is downright effective and when taken at the recommended dosages, safe. The only downside is that this stack is EXPENSIVE with TeaCrine and Dynamine being $400+ and $600+ a kilogram, respectively.
Top Supplements Containing Dynamine
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