Caffeine as a Drug/Performance Enhancer and Performance Detriment
Level 1 - NGMI
Welcome Avatar! For those that have been forced to run the gauntlet (multiple weeks in a row with at least one all nighter), you know that caffeine is a near must to survive this push period. At this point we’ve got enough life experience combined with research to talk high level about the topic. As usual none of this is health/medical advice and we’re including several observations/opinions that are not proven by any “academic study” since all academic studies are a few years behind anyway.
Part 1: Caffeine as a Drug/Performance Enhancer
In Spending for Max return (see links at bottom for paid subs), we covered a lot of grey area stuff including microdosing LSD/shrooms etc. We came up with a way to maximize the benefits for those that are on the grind.
This post is going to specifically target caffeine. This is over the counter and likely a cause of Atopical Dermatitis (eczema)/skin rashes/psoriasis. Also. We have a working theory that constant caffeine consumption leads to lower vitamin D levels which is also a prevalent issue nowadays.
In short, caffeine likely causes a lot of the common issues you’re seeing today and no we don’t have any “official proof” since the monster/redbull/rockstar/starbucks era has only been rampant for about 10 years now.
Starting with the Good
Caffeine is 100% a mood enhancer and performance enhancer. We simply won’t listen to counter arguments. If you are a pretty sharp anon, you know that downing a redbull and then focusing on work improves your thinking abilities and allows you to generate better results. You’re in a better mood and have more energy.
The trick is you can’t really blast the stuff at all times because if you do, you end up becoming reliant on it and the potency declines tremendously. “Studies” show that somewhere around 200mg 30 minutes before an event improves performance (source)
BTB Ideal Use: Most people will never take life to extremes. They will never reach full physical or mental potential because they are scared of grey market items and certainly don’t want to invest tens of thousands of dollars into a private doctor for constant lab work.
Therefore we’ll outline the ideal use case:
Caffeine is ideal for pushing through. If you have an exam, a deadline or something you need an extra hour or two of focused work? Take the drink. Do not use it daily
Caffeine on the physical side is likely maxed at a 20 minute interval or so, maybe 30 minutes max. If you are a competitive athlete you wouldn’t use it for a 90 minute soccer game. You might use it if you have 15 minutes left in a major game, or you are a role player who plays 15-20 mins in basketball. Essentially line up the caffeine with 20-30 mins of max output. Do not use this to try and win the Tour de France as you’ll burn out
Absurd consumption. When you’re in full workaholic mode you might be forced to drink a full gram per day of caffeine. This is absurd to many but if you’ve lived the “gauntlet” you know why it happens. If you do this, you better have a detox plan lined up right after
Consistency kills the positive of caffeine. It is meant to be cycled.
As you can see, no where in here is *daily* consumption. Daily consumption is probably the worst of all worlds. You get a slight boost that declines in effectiveness every week. You’re building tolerance. If you were to take it once or twice a week, at 200mg or so, you are unlikely building tolerance and could zero it out with a couple weeks off.
Examples to Avoid Confusion
You have an exam tomorrow and need to study. It’s one test and you haven’t been drinking caffeine for weeks. Slam some energy drinks/coffee/tea and cram for the exam.
You are trying to perform well at work. You decide to try and take caffeine everyday after lunch to generate better performance in the evening. This will work for a few weeks then it won’t benefit you at all and you’ll develop resistance and drug dependence. Do not do this.
You are on a college basketball team and you’ve made it to the sweet 16 (national television). You play 20 minutes a game as the 6th man. You should try to time your caffeine intake around warm ups to line up with when you’re in the game (probably splitting two sugar free redbulls around half time and warmups). Foolish not to as stakes are high, opportunity is high and downside is low. If you’re in a pre-season game against a no-name school, there is no point
You are a 400 meter runner with a chance at going to college for free if you can drop a few fractions of a second. You are at the end of the periodization phase and at peak. You should probably amp it up and drop a single caffeine pill 30 minutes before and just go all out hoping it gets you over the line just enough.
Example Use of Caffeine Ranked
Caffeine pills. These are the most absurd and will likely caused heart palpitations for many. This better be an all out event to consider taking
Redbull/Energy Drinks. These are just below caffeine pills and if you’re looking to avoid stomach issues you can shake them up until they lose all the fizz “flat redbull” would be ideal
Coffee. Pretty much the standard. Easy to get addicted to if you drink it daily and generally doesn’t work well for many purposes (ironic isn’t it)
Yerba Matte. The cleanest of the caffeine highs. We’ve talked about this for a couple of years (source) and better suited for people who are going to work a late night
If you are caffeine sensitive and don’t need this much, it would be black tea then a strong green tea
If you want to line this up to examples: 1) caffeine pill for a sprint performance, 2) redbull/energy drink for a 15-20 minute event, 3) coffee - essentially no need and 4) Yerba Matte is for working late at night.
Part 2: Negative Impacts of Caffeine
At this point we’ve outraged all the Starbucks lovers and the Keurig guys who use multiple cups to get “extra caffeine” at their W-2 office position. Either way it doesn’t matter.
We’ve made tons of mistakes before and have drank absurd amounts of coffee so we don’t blame anyone. This is all just based on experience and information.
Dehydration: Earlier we mentioned consistent caffeine use leads to dry skin (source). Why? Dehydration. Coincidentally, we have a large number of people suffering from skin ailments such as eczema. We don’t think this is a coincidence. Now you have to ask, if you’re dehydrating your skin, are you dehydrating your veins/arteries? Our guess is yes.
Vitamin D: Did you know that Caffeine actually inhibits these receptors as well? You’ve probably noticed the trending topic as well and now we may have yet another answer. “Caffeine inhibits vitamin D receptors, which limit the amount that will be absorbed. Because vitamin D is important in the absorption and use of calcium in building bone, this could also decrease bone mineral density, resulting in an increased risk for osteoporosis.” - Source
Eyes: In an extreme case, if you’re consistently restricting blood vessels there is some tail risk that you damage your eyes (source). This makes logical sense in an *extreme* consumption case as you’re drying out your body and causing blood vessels to constrict. “In this study, researchers found that adults who drank 3 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 66% higher risk of developing glaucoma than those who didn’t drink coffee.”
Withdrawal Issues: If you’re forced to take huge amounts of caffeine then get off of it, you will experience problems: 1) headaches, 2) muscle aches and 3) constant sleepiness. The reasoning is listed in the image above.
While periodically blocking Adenosine receptors is good for performance, consistent blocking such as daily consumption will cause your body to adapt. When you get off of the caffeine your body is completely confused as the receptors suddenly receives tons of signals suggesting it is tired.
We also know that it constricts blood vessels and stimulates adrenaline. If you’ve been abusing caffeine then you will get a headache as blood vessels expand suddenly and feel even more tired since you have no additional adrenaline boost.
Recovery: We’re going to give the annoying “every body is different” answer. It is simply true. Just like IQ or athletic ability, no person is the same. That said, for something like this if you intake zero caffeine (no sodas, no tea etc.) for about 2 months we’d wager that 95%+ of the resistance will be gone. The key is to have absolutely none of it so your body doesn’t get the chance to recognize the substance in the body for a long period of time.
For most people? We’d bet that if you use it 1x a week or so, there is a limited chance of dependency. Also. If you were to use it 3x a week and simply take a week off a couple times a year. You’re probably good to go as well.
As a point of emphasis it is more about consistency of consumption vs. amount. If you slam caffeine on a Friday night due to a crazy work day… That is better than sipping a coffee or two a day for two weeks. The first generates high performance throughput the second just builds tolerance.
Part 3: Bunch of Non-Medical Opinions
This section is just our opinion on it all. The above was a mix of stuff you can verify and opinion.
#1 It’s a PED: You can get slightly better performance in anything strength, speed, cognitive or endurance based over a 1 minute to 20 minute interval. Beyond this it’s not a PED and detrimental. Don’t try to play a 90 minute soccer game and chug redbull 15 minutes before the game. You’ll hit the wall half way through.
#2 It’s Responsible for Vitamin D Deficiency: Line up caffeine consumption and vitamin D deficiency in the USA. Wager there is a huge correlation. While that is not “causation” for the nit pickers out there, it’ll likely be proven later to be true.
If it can inhibit vitamin D receptors then there is a high chance the vitamin D has no uptake over long periods.
#3 It Impairs Skin: Being dehydrated is simply not good for organs and skin. While we’ll make the skin claim publicly linked to dry skin/eczema, we’d say it can’t be good for vessels and veins either. Again. This assume consistent consumption
#4 Moderate Use - No Impact: If you use it as a PED (as it should be), you won’t have any real health impacts. If you use it 1x a month in a large dose you will not build tolerance and will slam through that workout or workday. Better to use it for real and use it with purpose or not use it at all.
#5 Could Be Responsible for Ligament/Muscle Tears: Dehydration is linked to muscle tears (ligaments/tendons/muscles etc). Therefore constant use of it may cause the tear in the first place. Another one that is likely true and unable to be proven for years.
Remember caffeine is a diuretic and increases the production of urine, likely part of the dehydration process/problem.
Put it Together
Daily caffeine use? Net negative. Likely impacts life expectancy and leads to worse skin, vision, blood flow and concentration. Simply get on a schedule that does not allow daily caffeine intake.
Cycled Caffeine Use? Likely no real impact to health. Assuming you’re in shape, pushing through a night or a work out is a net positive. Can help you reach a new peak or financial threshold and go back to normal.
General Rule? Lower amount is ideal. Ideally zero. That said it isn’t possible so follow the examples listed in part 1. You want to use it (on the right dose) and then get off of it ASAP.
Final Point! Since this is real life and most of our readers are totally insane and competitive… You will end up overdoing it anyway.
When you get off of it for a while you’ll notice many of the things mentioned here and potentially more. Similar to stopping alcohol. You’re free to ignore this post if you’re living the grind period of long hours (we made the same mistake). Just save it for when you’re nearing the finish line and see how those headaches feel when you take it all to zero! (like banks).
Disclaimer: None of this is to be deemed legal or financial advice of any kind. These are *opinions* written by an anonymous group of Ex-Wall Street Tech Bankers and software engineers who moved into affiliate marketing and e-commerce. We’re an advisor for Synapse Protocol 2022-2024E.
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