If you’re struggling with fatigue, you need extra energy to get through an intense period at work, or you want help burning the midnight oil, caffeine pills appear to be the perfect solution. Convenient, powerful and relatively cheap, caffeine pills are rthe go-to answer to tiredness, fatigue and poor focus for hundreds of thousands of people every single day.
In recent years the caffeine pill market has had somthing of an overhaul; a range of high-quality, professional, comprehensive caffeine supplements have come out which combine caffeine, theanine, and several other ingredients including nootropics, vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts to produce a cleaner, more sustained, more potent energy kick than conventional caffeine pills.
Modern caffeine supplements are not only more effective than the kind of caffeine pills sold at gas stations in previous years, but they are also significantly safer, causing less side effects and posing a much lower addiction risk. The best caffeine pills on the market right now do more than just boost energy levels; they sharpen focus, enhance cognitive performance, and reduce anxiety at the same time.
But it is worth asking, just how much safer are modern caffeine pills than their cheap, nasty predecesors?
Are caffeine pills safe to use at all?
What are the main side effects of caffeine pills?
In this article, we’ll examine the safety of caffeine pills, their side effect risks, and how they compare to drinking coffee in terms of health effects. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section at the end.
Are caffeine pills safer than coffee?
One of the main reasons that people avoid caffeine pills are the perceived dangers. This isn’t unreasonable since most of the caffeine pills on the market – both now and in the past – have typically been cheap, nasty, and far too strong for the vast majority of users.When someone says caffeine pills, most people immediately think of the kind of dangerous pills sold in gas stations to truckers trying to make a big trip in a single day.
However, things are starting to change in the supplement industry, and it is now fair to say that not all caffeine pills are more dangerous than coffee. In fact, some of the best caffeine pills today can be considered safer than coffee in certain cirucmstances. It all depends entirely on the quality of the caffeine pills you are taking, the kind of coffee you are drinking, and your own particular caffeine tolerance.
Obviously, using low quality, cheap caffeine supplements is unlikely to be safe. The main danger with using low quality caffeine supplements is that they tend to contain excessively large doses of caffeine. Several well-known and widely-used caffeine supplements contain 200mg of caffeine or more. This is a very large dose of caffeine for anybody to be consuming in a single serving, especially when it is designed for rapid action, or when it is combined with other ingredients that negatively interact with caffeine.
Some of the worst caffeine pills on the market today contain a large dose of caffeine along with several other stimulants known to interact badly with caffeine, e.g. synephrine, theobromine, theacrine, guarana, yerba mate, ephedra, and dozens of others. Combining caffeine with any of these ingredients can make it incredibly more prone to adverse side effects or long-term health risks.
But when we’re talking about high-spec, profesisonal-quality caffeine pills, these supplements can actually be safer to use than coffee.
For one thing, caffeine pills give you a surefire way to control your caffeine consumption down to the milligram. It is not always possible to know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. This is obviously difficult when getting coffee from a coffee shop. But it can also be very difficult to control caffeine consumption precisely when making fresh coffee at home; each cup of coffee contains a slightly different amount of caffeine, depending on how long you brew, the amount of coffee grounds used, and so on.
This can easily lead to you accidentally overdosing on caffeine through coffee, especially if you throw in a store-bought cup of coffee that is extremely high in caffeine!
Caffeine pills give you a conveinent, simple, and fool-proof way to precisely control caffeine consumption each day. This makes some caffeine pills – those with reasonable doses of caffeine – far safer than drinking fresh coffee or instant coffee.
Is it safe to take caffeine pills every day?
Arguably the best way to use high quality caffeine supplements is to take them fairly consistently, sometimes on a daily basis. This is certainly true of the kind of high-spec caffeine pills which combine caffeine and theanine with proven, powerful natural nootropics designed to enhance cognitive performance and brain health over the long-term. These kinds of supplements produce the greatest benefits when used consistently, every day, for many weeks and months.
Of course, the biggest detemrinant of whether it is safe or not to use caffeine pills every day is the amount of caffeine in the pills. It is generally advised that people consume no more than 400mg of caffeine per day.
However, we think for most people, consuming more than 200-300mg is invariably going to cause problems. For the vast majority of people, taking more than 150mg of caffeine every day, whether through coffee, tea or caffeine pills, is going to cause some problems such as insomnia, anxiety and headaches.
It is also important to check what other, potentially dangerous ingredients are in caffeine pills.
So yes, it is safe to take caffeine pills every day, but only so long as the pills don’t contain more than 200mg of caffeine or other ingredients which cause side effects when taken daily.
How long do caffeine pills take to kick in?
How long it takes caffeine supplements to kick in depends entirely on the type and composition of the supplement in question.
As with most things, one caffeine pill is not the same as every other. This is especially true when comparing high-spec caffeine pills with cheap, nasty stimulants.
Some caffeine pills are specifically designed to be fast-acting. These caffeine supplements can start to increase energy levels and increase motivation in as little as 30m minutes. Other high-quality caffeine pills are much slower acting, but they are designed to produce a much more sustained, longer lasting increase in energy and focus.
What is important is that you use the right caffeine supplement for your particular needs. If you want a quick fix for energy and focus, use a professional pill designed for quick action. If you want a more sustained energy boost and a milder experience, opt for a slower acting caffeine pill.
What happens when you overdose on caffeine pills?
Few people seem to realise that caffeine is an incredibly powerful stimulant. It may be naturally occuring, but it is capable of causing serious adverse effects.
This may come as a surprise to some, but caffeine can cause an acute overdose. In severe cases, this overdose can be life threatening.
The immediate symptoms of caffeine overdose include:
- Stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pains
- Panic attack
Caffeine pills can easily cause an overdose if used improperly. Don’t take more caffeine pills than recommended. Avoid caffeine pills with excessively large doses of caffeine or other stimulants, as this can make caffeine pill overdoses more likely.
If you experience any of the symptoms of caffeine overdose, it is vital that you seek medical attention immediately. If you experience heart palpitations or shortness of breath, talk to a doctor immediately. We are not doctors and this is not medical advice.
Is 200mg of caffeine really a lot?
Yes, 200mg of caffeine can be a lot. Studies show that 100 to 200 mg of caffeine (about 1 to 2 cups of regular coffee) are enough to achieve significant physiological effects. When caffeine consumption climbs above 200mg per day, people are more likely to experience nausea, headaches, sleep difficulties or increased anxiety. People may have heart palpitations with more than 500 mg.
There is a broad trend among energy supplements and caffeine pills towards using doses of 200mg of caffeine per serving.
Where has this number come from?
Thankfully, it seems to have come from clinical trials. Several studies have shown that doses of 100mg to 200mg of caffeine deliver rapid increases in energy, focus, motivation and reaction times without causing significant side effects. Based on this data, an increasing number of supplement manufacturers are opting for 200mg doses of caffeine in their energy supplements and caffeine pills. However, we need to stress that 200mg is still a lot of caffeine for anybody, regardless of how much coffee you normally drink or how high you think your tolerance is to caffeine.
For most people, the best dose of caffeine to take for balancing benefits and side effects is 75-125mg combined with about 150-250mg of theanine. This adheres to the ideal 2:1 ratio of theanine to caffeine while keeping the overall dose of caffeine low.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.