What Is Theacrine?
Theacrine or 1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid is a purine alkaloid compound which is fast becoming the new kid on the block in terms of stimulants. Extremely similar to caffeine, Theacrine began appearing in supplements over the last few years, but has actually been researched since the 60s. While there is a lack of human research on the compound, it shows some promising properties as a pre workout ingredient.
Where Does Theacrine Come From?
Theacrine is naturally found in a species of tea known as Kucha Camellia assamica. The compound itself can actually be produced from caffeine. It is found in greater concentrations in young buds and leaves of the plant with levels declining as the plant matures.
Due to its similarity with caffeine, theacrine possesses many of the same physiological properties of caffeine. As with caffeine, studies have shown that theacrine contains sedative and hypnotic effects. That is, it has a calming effect and can help to promote sleep. For caffeine, this occurs at impractically low levels, however for theacrine, this effect can be experienced with a single cup of Kucha tea. In addition, theacrine possesses both anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reduction) effects.
Theacrine Benefits for Bodybuilding
The versatility of theacrine makes it extremely suitable for use in training and bodybuilding. For example, any of the above benefits listed can be positive when it comes to training. At lower doses, its sedative and sleep inducing effects can support improved recovery. Similarly the anti-inflammatory effects can also promote reduced muscle soreness and a quicker return to the gym. The analgesic properties of theacrine can benefit endurance training and better gains.
Perhaps the most pronounced effect though is theacrine’s ability to act as a stimulant and one that hasn’t been shown in studies to result in tolerance. Unlike caffeine, where after a mere 7 days, your body becomes accustomed to its effects; there is no evidence of this with theacrine. This makes it even more attractive as an alternative stimulant source for pre workouts.
Theacrine Side Effects, Negatives & Safety
No real information exists for any side effects associated with theacrine use. We expect that similar negatives that would occur with caffeine would occur with an increased dose of theacrine. These include increased feelings of anxiety, jitteriness, increased heart rate, etc. In terms of safety, animal studies have shown the LD50 (a lethal dose for 50% of the population) to occur at 810mg/kg of bodyweight. It’s hard to base a maximum dose for humans based on this, but we expect it to similar to caffeine.
Theacrine Recommended Dosage & Ingredient Timing
Without some extra studies conducted, we can’t be certain what’s the most effective dose of theacrine, nor its supplement timing. Due to its similarity with caffeine, it’s best to use it before your workouts, however as it can have sedative and hypnotic effects, it can also be used before bed as a mood enhancer and relaxant. In terms of dosage, we’re seeing doses of around 25mg to 50mg found in supplements, so it’s best to stick with these figures until further information is available.
As mentioned previously, the ingredient is popping up in a range of different pre workouts and fat burners. It’s appearing as the trademarked Teacrine or Teacor in various supplements including Cellucor’s most recent range of new products including the reformulated C4, Alpha Amino Xtreme and Super HD Xtreme.
As both a stimulant and sedative, theacrine can be stacked with a huge range of supplements and ingredients. It can be stacked with fat burners, pre workouts, sleep support supplements to almost anything else.1. Wang Y, Yang X, Zheng X, Li J, Ye C, Song X. ‘Theacrine, a purine alkaloid with anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities.’ Fitoterapia. 2010 Sep;81(6):627-31.
2. Xu JK, Kurihara H, Zhao L, Yao XS. ‘Theacrine, a special purine alkaloid with sedative and hypnotic properties from Cammelia assamica var. kucha in mice.’ J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2007 Sep-Dec;9(6-8):665-72.
3. Zheng XQ, Ye CX, Kato M, Crozier A, Ashihara H. ‘Theacrine (1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid) synthesis in leaves of a Chinese tea, kucha (Camellia assamica var. kucha).’ Phytochemistry. 2002 May;60(2):129-34.
4. Ball KT, Poplawsky A. Low-dose oral caffeine induces a specific form of behavioral sensitization in rats. Pharmacol Rep. 2011 Nov;63(6):1560-3. PubMed PMID: 22358105.