The study, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements had a two-part design: one, an open-label preliminary with nine participants, established a dose-response relationship; while the second - a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind design with 15 subjects using the optimized dose - looked at changes in various aspects of physical and mental energy along with with changes in gas exchange and hemodynamic parameters before and at and 1, 2, and 3 hours after acute ingestion. Participants were not asked to modify their exercise or dietary behaviors except to engage in a water fast for 8 hours prior to ingestion.
Visual analog scales (VAS) were used to gauge the outcomes of the subjective measures of perceived energy, termed “willingness to exercise” in the study, as well as putting numbers around how participants felt about their ability to concentrate and their mood. VAS has been validated as a more precise way to determine the state of a number of subjects’ physiological states. It has been shown to be particularly useful in gauging pain, for example.
Lower dose performs better
The outcome of the dose-response portion of the study was significant in that it showed that a 200 mg dose was superior to a 400 mg dose in most respects. Hector Lopez, MD, one of the study’s authors and the IP holder on the ingredient, said this result was something of a mild surprise in that it contradicted some of the earlier work done in animal models, whereas the other findings tending to confirm the results of these earlier studies.
“It actually contradicts some of the animal pre-clinical studies which showed a direct dose response relationship. It’s always beneficial when you can provide a lower dose with the same benefits,” Lopez told NutraIngredients-USA.
TeaCrine has been marketed by Compound Solutions, based in Carlsbad, CA, as an alternative to caffeine. 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.
TeaCrine offers an alternative, said Matt Titlow, CEO of Compound Solutions. TeaCrine 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.
In double-blind portion of the most recent study, Lopez and his coauthors found that the 200 mg dose provided, “consistent positive increases in self-reported (using 100-mm anchored VAS) outcomes related to willingness to ex- ercise, motivation to train, energy and concentration.” The study authors also said that TeaCrine does not exhibit the same habituation effect as does caffeine and does not promote some of the unwanted side effects such as an anxious, jittery feeling.
Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
“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.”
2016 May 10:1-15. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Ziegenfuss TN, Habowski SM, Sandrock JE, Kedia AW, Kerksick CM, Lopez HL.