Caffeine is a mild stimulant and easily the most commonly consumed nootropic in existence. When consumed by those who lack a tolerance to it, it provides excellent nootropic benefits.


  • Reduces mental/physical fatigue, increases alertness/focus [7]
  • Causes faster/clearer flow of thought and better coordination [7]
  • Lowers the risk of certain types of cancer [7][8]
  • Reduces symptoms of depression and lowers risk of suicide [10]

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What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is by far the most commonly used and accepted nootropic. Caffeine is an alkaloid that acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system. Unlike many other psychoactive stimulants, caffeine is legal and unregulated virtually everywhere on earth.  In North America, close to 90% of adults use this nootropic daily. [5] Because of caffeine’s popularity, it is the most studied nootropic in the world, yet many people still overlook caffeine’s benefits when constructing their nootropic regimen.

Caffeine Dosage Information

The generally accepted daily dosage for caffeine is 300mg. This translates to approximately 3 cups of coffee. When doses exceed 300mg side effects are much more likely. Consuming amounts greater then 500mg per day can result in a condition defined as “caffeinism” [9]. This condition causes caffeine dependency along with many unwanted side effects including insomnia, headaches, irritability, and nervousness.

How Does Caffeine Work?

Even though chances are you have had a cup of coffee at some point in your life, chances are you don’t understand its inner workings. Caffeine is a water and lipid soluble nootropic that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.

Caffeine’s main mechanism of action is its action as an antagonist of adenosine receptors. This means it reduces the effects of adenosine. The reduction of the adenosine neurotransmitter is where caffeine derives the majority of its effects. Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which plays a role in promoting sleep and suppressing alertness among other functions in the brain. [11]

However, adenosine is not the only neurotransmitter affected by adenosine receptors. These receptors are also to regulate the release of other neurotransmitters including dopamine and glutamate. [1]

Safety and Side Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine is regarded as being completely safe when taken at recommended dosages. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can lead to side effects including headaches, anxiety, agitation, and insomnia. Even at lower doses, a mild dependency may occur. The most common withdrawal symptom from caffeine addiction is headaches, though fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and mild depression may occur. Generally, these symptoms pass within a couple of days.

Caffeine FAQ

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Caffeine. If you have a question that’s not on this list, send it to us at [email protected] and we will answer it for you.

Should I Use Caffeine?

Chances are that you are already taking caffeine in the morning to jump-start your day. If that is the case, then I strongly recommend you look in L-Theanine. Multiple studies have shown that these two nootropics work in synergy to produce and enhance a number of nootropic effects. If you think that caffeine provides a good start to the day then you won’t be disappointed by what caffeine and L-Theanine can do.For those of you who don’t already take caffeine, it is something you should consider. It will definitely provide you with a burst of energy to help you start that day. If you don’t like the taste or don’t have time to make coffee, you can purchase caffeine supplements. If you don’t need a jump-start to your day then you can pass on caffeine. Caffeine by itself has not been observed to improve memory or learning.

What Are Some Interesting Caffeine Studies?

A couple of studies have been conducted to observe the synergistic relationship between theanine and caffeine. One study subjected volunteers to difficult tests over the course of three days. Each day the volunteers were given either a placebo, 100 mg of theanine, 60 mg of caffeine, or both. Participants’ accuracy on the tests was slightly higher when they received either the theanine or caffeine over the placebo. However, the participants who received the theanine-caffeine combination had significantly higher accuracy and reported being much more attentive. The benefit from this combination lasted up to 3 hours. [4]

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Cited Studies

1.  Fuxe K, Ferré S, Genedani S, Franco R, Agnati LF (September 2007). “Adenosine receptor-dopamine receptor interactions in the basal ganglia and their relevance for brain function”. Physiology & Behavior 92 (1-2): 210–7. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.05.034. PMID 17572452.

2.  Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, Girardier L, Mensi N, Fathi M, Chantre P, Vandermander J (1999). “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans”

3.  Haskell CF, Kennedy DO, Milne AL, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB (2008). “The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood”. Biol Psychol 77 (2): 113–22. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2007.09.008. PMID 18006208.

4. ” John J. Foxe of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, N.Y

5. Lovett, Richard (24 September 2005). “Coffee: The demon drink?”. New Scientist (2518). Retrieved 2009-08-03. (subscription required)

6. Bolton, Sanford (1981). “Caffeine: Psychological Effects, Use and Abuse”. Orthomolecular Psychiatry 10 (3): 202–211.

7. Nkondjock, A (2009-05-18). “Coffee consumption and the risk of cancer: an overview.”. Cancer letters 277 (2): 121–5. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2008.08.022. PMID 18834663.

8. Arab L (2010). “Epidemiologic evidence on coffee and cancer.”. Nutrition and cancer 62 (3): 271–83. PMID 20358464.

9. Iancu I, Olmer A, Strous RD (2007). “Caffeinism: History, clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment”. In Smith BD, Gupta U, Gupta BS. Caffeine and activation theory: effects on health and behavior. CRC Press. pp. 331–344. ISBN 978-0-8493-7102-8.

10. Lara, DR. “Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disporders”. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 20 Suppl. 1: S239–248. PMID 20164571.

11. Fisone G, Borgkvist A, Usiello A (2004). “Caffeine as a psychomotor stimulant: mechanism of action”. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 61: 857–72. doi:10.1007/s00018-003-3269-3