Natural Caffeine vs Synthetic Caffeine
How natural caffeine compares to synthetic caffeine and how to avoid that dreaded crash.
Each day, about 90% of Americans consume caffeine in some form. But only some of these people get a steady boost of energy without the hard caffeine crash. Why is this? It all depends on the source of your caffeine (1).
Caffeine comes in all shapes and sizes that can be found in energy drinks, coffee, food, and even some health products. But what’s the best and healthiest way to consume caffeine? And isn’t caffeine...well just that, caffeine? Short answer is no, and how you get your fix does indeed matter.
Caffeine is available from two main sources: natural and synthetic.
Natural caffeine is extracted from plants, like green tea leaves which come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, or Yerba mate, whose leaves are harvested from native holly trees in the South American rainforest.
Synthetic caffeine, like the kind in popular “energy drinks”, is made in a laboratory from chloroacetic acid and urea. Chloroacetic acid is actually hazardous before it is turned into synthetic caffeine, and urea, also hazardous, is found in the urine of most animals - Ew. Many companies opt to use synthetic caffeine because it is cheaper to acquire and does not require sourcing from other continents.
So why is natural caffeine the better choice?
Natural caffeine is found in the vitamins and methylxanthines within the plant. Methylxanthines are simply a compound produced naturally by plants. The presence of these vitamins and compounds in naturally sourced caffeine allows for the caffeine to be steadily released into your body throughout the day.
When we consume synthetic caffeine, the caffeine is all released into our bodies at once and is quickly broken down. Synthetic caffeine metabolizes much faster than natural caffeine. That’s why we feel shaky and have a hard crash soon after consuming these synthetic caffeine products.
The synthetic caffeine industry is also known to have questionable practices. Nearly all synthetic caffeine comes from massive factories in Shijiazhung, China, where industrial pollution has tainted the air and water. (2)
How do I find out if a product has natural or synthetic caffeine?
Checking the nutrition facts on your product should give you this information. Products made with natural caffeine will list the source of the caffeine in the nutrition facts.
For example, on the FocusAid can, we can see Green Tea extract and Yerba mate extract are the sources of caffeine. Together, these provide 100mg of natural caffeine per can. In FitAid, the caffeine is sourced from Green Tea extract, and one can offer 45 mg of natural caffeine.
Caffeine on its own is not bad for you, in fact, it has actually been shown to have some health benefits like preventing Alzhemier’s Disease and bettering our memory. But it is important to consider where your caffeine is coming from.
Not all caffeine is the same, and consuming caffeine from natural sources will prove better for your mood and your health! So stray away from synthetic caffeine, because when it comes to synthetic vs. natural, natural caffeine always takes the cake without the crash.