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Theacrine: The Energizing Compound With a Boost — A Comprehensive Guide

Could it be... better than good ole caffeine??

Let's dive in.

Theacrine is an increasingly popular compound in the world of dietary supplements and energy-boosting products. Derived from natural sources like the Camellia assamica var. kucha plant and known for its stimulating effects, theacrine is gaining traction as an alternative or complementary compound to caffeine. It offers unique benefits, including increased energy, enhanced focus, and potential ergogenic effects during exercise. In this article, we'll explore the physiological mechanisms of action of theacrine, its benefits, ergogenic potential with exercise, recommended dosages, how it compares with caffeine, and other relevant information.

Physiological Mechanisms of Action

Theacrine works through several physiological mechanisms, with some similarities to caffeine but also notable differences:

  • Adenosine Receptor Antagonism: Like caffeine, theacrine blocks adenosine receptors, which reduces the sensation of fatigue and promotes alertness. This leads to increased energy levels and improved focus.

  • Dopamine and Serotonin Modulation: Theacrine has been shown to increase dopamine levels and possibly serotonin levels, leading to enhanced mood and motivation. This modulation may contribute to its positive effects on mood and energy.

  • No Tolerance Buildup: Unlike caffeine, theacrine is believed to cause less tolerance buildup over time, making it a potentially better choice for those who want sustained energy without the need to increase dosages.

Benefits of Theacrine

Theacrine offers several benefits, many of which overlap with those of caffeine, but it has unique attributes as well:

  • Increased Energy and Alertness: Theacrine's adenosine receptor antagonism leads to heightened energy levels and improved alertness without the jitters or crash often associated with caffeine.

  • Enhanced Mood and Focus: The modulation of dopamine and serotonin contributes to improved mood, motivation, and focus. This can be beneficial for both cognitive tasks and exercise.

  • Reduced Anxiety and Jitters: Theacrine tends to produce fewer side effects related to anxiety or jitters compared to caffeine, making it a potentially smoother and calmer stimulant.

Ergogenic Benefits with Exercise

Theacrine's ergogenic benefits make it appealing for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Here's how it can enhance exercise performance:

  • Improved Stamina and Endurance: Theacrine's stimulating effects can increase stamina and endurance, allowing athletes to push harder and longer during workouts.

  • Reduced Perceived Exertion: By blocking adenosine receptors, theacrine can reduce the perception of effort during exercise, leading to more intense training sessions with less perceived fatigue.

  • Enhanced Motivation and Focus: The dopamine modulation provided by theacrine can boost motivation and focus during workouts, allowing for greater consistency and effectiveness in training.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended dosage of theacrine can vary depending on individual tolerance and the desired effects. Generally, doses between 50 and 200 milligrams per day are considered safe and effective. It's best to start with a lower dose to assess tolerance before increasing the amount. Theacrine is often taken in supplement form, and some pre-workout supplements contain it alongside other performance-enhancing ingredients.

Comparison with Caffeine

Theacrine and caffeine share some similarities, but there are key differences:

  • Tolerance: Theacrine is believed to build tolerance at a slower rate than caffeine, making it suitable for long-term use without the need for increasing dosages.

  • Side Effects: Theacrine generally produces fewer side effects like anxiety, jitters, or sleep disturbances, making it a smoother stimulant for those sensitive to caffeine's harshness.

  • Half-Life: Theacrine tends to have a longer half-life than caffeine, providing a more sustained energy boost over time without the sudden crash.


Theacrine is a versatile and intriguing compound that offers a range of benefits, from increased energy and focus to enhanced exercise performance. Its unique mechanisms of action and reduced side effects compared to caffeine make it a promising alternative for those seeking sustained energy without the drawbacks often associated with other stimulants. If you're considering adding theacrine to your routine, start with a low dose and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it's the right choice for you. With its growing popularity, theacrine is poised to become a valuable addition to the toolkit of anyone seeking to optimize energy, focus, and performance.


References and Resources

In addition, studies in mice also suggest that theacrine may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties:

What makes theacrine truly unique is how it may differ from caffeine. Theacrine:

  • Has a longer half-life (in rats) [7]

  • Has no effect on blood pressure (in rats) [8]

  • Is less likely to disrupt sleep compared to caffeine (in mice) [5]

  • Is less likely to cause habituation – a diminished response with time (in humans) [9]

Finally, a study in humans suggests that theacrine and caffeine may be more effective when taken together because caffeine increases the bioavailability and positive effects of theacrine [10, 11].

A Two-Part Approach to Examine the Effects of Theacrine (TeaCrine®) Supplementation on Oxygen Consumption, Hemodynamic Responses, and Subjective Measures of Cognitive and Psychometric Parameters

"Part 1 was a randomized, open-label, dose-response investigation in nine healthy participants whereby three participants ingested 400 mg TC per day and six participants ingested 200 mg/day. Participants recorded subjective changes in cognitive, psychometric, and exercise attributes using 150-mm anchored visual analog scale (VAS) before, and 1, 4, and 6 hours after ingestion every day for 7 consecutive days. Part 2 was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation in 15 healthy subjects in which all participants ingested a single 200 mg dose of TC or Placebo (PLA). Anchored VAS questionnaires were used to detect subjective changes in various aspects of physical and mental energy along with changes in gas exchange and hemodynamic parameters before, and 1, 2, and 3 hours after acute ingestion. Energy, focus, and concentration increased from baseline values in both doses with no dose-response effect. VAS responses in the 200 mg for willingness to exercise, anxiety, motivation to train and libido increased across the measurement period while no such change was seen with the 400 mg dose. After consuming a single 200 mg dose, significant group × time interaction effects were seen for energy, fatigue, and concentration. No changes in resting heart rate, gas exchange, systemic hemodynamics or side effect profiles were noted."

Kuhman DJ, Joyner KJ, Bloomer RJ.Nutrients. 2015 Nov 19;7(11):9618-32. doi: 10.3390/nu7115484.PMID: 26610558 Free PMC article.

Bello ML, Walker AJ, McFadden BA, Sanders DJ, Arent SM.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2019 Apr 18;16(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s12970-019-0287-6.PMID: 30999897

Sheng YY, Xiang J, Wang ZS, Jin J, Wang YQ, Li QS, Li D, Fang ZT, Lu JL, Ye JH, Liang YR, Zheng XQ.Front Nutr. 2020 Dec 17;7:596823. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.596823. eCollection 2020.PMID: 33392238

Evans C, Antonio J, Khan A, Vanderkley A, Berrocales M, Rojas J, Sakaria S, Petruzzelli J, Santana JC, Curtis J, Ricci T, Tartar JL.Cureus. 2023 Aug 28;15(8):e44254. doi: 10.7759/cureus.44254. eCollection 2023 Aug.PMID: 37772230

Cerqueira HSC, Filho HT, Corrêa Junior M, Martinelli Junior CE.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Oct 28;19(21):14037. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192114037.PMID: 36360914

Safety of TeaCrine®, a non-habituating, naturally-occurring purine alkaloid over eight weeks of continuous use


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