There's more to this stimulant than you think.
As the world’s most widely used go-to for an energy boost, caffeine is a socially acceptable drug for a reason. Not only does it taste great, studies suggest it can improve mood and concentration, sharpen our focus, and even help burn fat by boosting metabolism. Here are some caffeine science tidbits to help you understand more about how caffeine actually works.
How Caffeine Works
When we ingest caffeine, three things happen that block different receptors in the brain, with varying effects:
- Caffeine blocks the 'adenosine' receptor that promotes sleepiness when activated, keeping us awake and alert.
- This creates a chain reaction that activates our adrenal glands, which produce 'adrenaline'—also known as the “fight or flight hormone." Adrenaline boosts energy by elevating heart rate, opening airways, and redirecting blood from organs to muscles.
- Caffeine increases the amount of 'dopamine' in our brain by blocking its reabsorption into our bodies. This leads to elevated dopamine levels, which make us feel good.
Caffeine in Coffee and Tea vs. Caffeine in Guarana
Whether you prefer to drink it or take a breath of guarana-based Eagle Energy, the caffeine effect is similar yet different when it comes to potency and benefits.
- The seeds from guarana fruit—harvested from the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Bahia—contain a natural caffeine stimulant yielding four times more caffeine per gram than coffee beans or tea leaves. Guarana extract is the primary ingredient in Eagle Energy. Many popular energy drinks also use guarana as their caffeine source.
- Guarana contains a molecule called 'tannins' which cause caffeine to gradually release in the body. This produces a longer-lasting energy plateau, making guarana a more effective form of caffeine to administer by inhaling directly into the bloodstream.
- When you drink caffeine, it stays in your system for over five hours, which can cause jitters, impact sleep, and in the case of energy drinks—a sugar crash. However, when you breathe in caffeine, you can control your dose as it metabolizes quite quickly and lasts about one hour.
- Drinking caffeine can cause stomach irritation in some people, which is not an issue when you inhale the natural caffeine in guarana.
Caffeine Science Theories to Think About
Small, Frequent Doses of Caffeine Best Strategy for Staying Awake
In a study by Harvard Medical School, the human sleep-wake cycle was under the microscope. To help shift workers, medical residents, truck drivers—and others who need to stay awake—get an improved boost of energy, the researchers proposed a more effective regimen of frequent low doses of caffeine versus big cups of coffee/tea as a morning or afternoon jolt.
Caffeine Can Soothe Anxiety
Back to dopamine—the “feel good” neurotransmitter—caffeine helps the brain release elevated levels in the prefrontal cortex, a brain area that governs mood regulation. Caffeine may also help the storage of dopamine in the amygdala; another part of the brain important for anxiety regulation. Bottom line, caffeine can help some people feel less anxious and happier.
>> Our two cents: No matter how you choose to enjoy caffeine, if it helps you feel less anxiety and overwhelm—especially during challenging times like these—that’s a good thing.