Caffeine is an ingredient with a long history of efficacy. But questions swirl in the political arena around caffeine’s safety in the high doses and multiple servings that characterize the energy beverage sphere. And the ingredient itself can lead to a boom-and-bust energy cycle in the body, leading to the search among formulators for alternatives.
In its branded ingredient TeaCrine, Compound Solutions believes it is offering an answer, said CEO Matt Titlow in a conversation with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The ingredient is a nature-identical version of theacrine, which can be found in kucha tea leaves (camellia assasamica). It is an alkaloid with a similar structure to caffeine, and promotes energy in the body, but in a significantly different way to its better-known cousin, Titlow said.
“It actually activates dopamine. Unlike caffeine that is just inhibiting adenosine so you can have a big up in energy and then a crash, this actually activates your reward center so you are motivated to exercise. You have improved mood and a decrease in anxiety, multiple benefits that you don’t have with caffeine,” Titlow said.
Titlow said the ingredient does not promote an anxious, jittery feel as caffeine can in some users. The duration of action differs, too, and can be as much as six to eight hours with Teacrine. Titlow also said that the data indicates that theacrine users do not become habituated to the ingredient as caffeine users do, so the dosage does not need to be increased over time to acheive the desired effect as is the case with caffeine.
Titlow said Compound Solutions, whichs is based in Carlsbad, CA, is working on a dossier to support an upcoming GRAS self affirmation for the ingredient. He said the company is working on a natural extraction, but at the moment is offereing a chemically synthesized version. Close to market, too, is a flavor masking technology to deal with the compound’s bitterness, an attribute characteristic of alkaloids in general, Titlow said.