Ah, caffeine. The one drug to which around 80 to 90 percent of Americans are openly addicted. Of course, caffeine has been around for ages, discovered in various beans and plants as a source of intensified energy and focus when brewed and imbibed. When people think of caffeine, their first instinct generally is to mentally list off their coffee order in their head: Grande Americano, 1 Splenda. Venti Dark Roast, room for cream. Grande, quad, nonfat, one-pump, no-whip Mocha. Different strokes for different folks, am I right?
The truth is, coffee, while ubiquitous, isn’t necessarily the be-all, end-all when it comes to your daily dose of caffeine. Many people know that black teas and green tea can pack a punch, but even aside from the classics, new, natural caffeine-based energy drinks are popping into the mainstream. Yerba mate. Guarana. Ring a bell? If not, no need to worry. This article will help acquaint you with these foreign-sounding beverages, and more importantly, explain exactly how caffeine interacts with your body’s testosterone.
So How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine, as most people can tell you, is a stimulant, meaning that it helps you feel like you’re firing on all eight and generally improves your focus and drive to get things done. So why is caffeine relevant to your testosterone? Expensive pre-workout supplements often do the same exact job as a shot of espresso prior to training. They help you focus and get motivated, which hopefully amps up your performance. You don’t have to necessarily dish out all your cash for pre-workout in order to train as your best self. Caffeine does a fine job and is generally, much cheaper.
Nervous stimulants act by constantly keeping your body at adrenaline-brimming levels, therefore effectively canceling hunger pangs. If you’re trying to cut back on fat gain, this is just another benefit of caffeine. Be careful, though — you want to be getting the right amount and type of food to help your anabolic training, so don’t substitute caffeine for protein. Caffeine-related studies have indicated that pre-workout caffeine can even act as a quick-fix testosterone booster before training. Since caffeine is a cAMP activator (which acts as a secondary signaling messenger in the endocrine system), it makes sense that caffeine can stimulate testosterone production and maintenance.
In women, the effect of prolonged caffeine consumption is more negatively correlated with lower testosterone in men, so it’s not as important to you as you might think. Studies have also shown that a history of a coffee habit in adult men can actually raise testosterone levels by more than 10 percent.
Different sources of caffeine can provide different health benefits or disadvantages. For example, drinking black coffee, you might encounter some gastrointestinal difficulty. A lot of people experience discomfort from excessive amounts of espresso or black coffee. Coffee, thanks to its high caffeine content can make people jittery as well. If you are trying to control your caffeine intake and switch up your routine a little, that’s where teas and other brewed beverages can step in.
What Is Yerba Mate?
This tea originated in parts of South America and is sometimes heralded as a cure-all. In reality, it delivers a refreshing amount of caffeine to help you stay alert. The tea is pretty abundant in anti-oxidants, essential amino acids and other nutrients. This supports the opinion that yerba mate tea is one of the healthier options when it comes to caffeinated beverages. The tea is even touted as a weight control aid, as it has supposed detoxifying and cleansing properties. Common vitamins found in yerba mate tea include A, C, E and B complex vitamins. The tea is also allegedly rich in calcium, carotene, iron and potassium, among other beneficial compounds.
What Is Guarana?
A dried paste dissolved in liquid to create an energizing beverage, guarana is made from crushed Paullinia plants. Guarana contains a comparable amount of caffeine to coffee beans. It acts as a cognitive stimulant, helping to create focus and motivation along with energy. In some regions of the world, guarana is said to be an aphrodisiac. It can act synergistically with alcohol in order to create a more potent drink. Guarana, unfortunately, is known for having a few adverse side effects, including, but not limited to: nervousness, insomnia and caffeine-related health issues. Because it can be more potent in caffeine content than coffee, it is advised that a guarana beverage should be carefully dosed in order to avoid anxiety-like side effect symptoms.
Do Green Tea and Black Tea Have as Much Caffeine as Coffee?
Green tea generally does not have the same amount of caffeine as coffee. In fact, two other stimulating compounds (theobromine and theophylline) are found in green tea, making it a good substitute for coffee in the morning if weaning yourself off caffeine is a personal goal. Green tea is also known to be super high in antioxidants, which prevent aging and harmful oxidative reactions in your body.
It also acts as a metabolism aid, helping you melt off some of that pesky body fat. L-theanine, an amino acid famously present in green tea, acts to calm you down, so getting the coffee jitters can become a thing of the past.
Black tea is slightly higher in caffeine concentration than green tea, but has some equally interesting health benefits. Black tea can lower bad cholesterol levels in blood, as well as inhibit the amount of glucose in the bloodstream through the release of the polysaccharides that compose it. It is also high in anti-oxidants, which is always a good thing.
Meet Anhydrous Caffeine
For those of use who are no-nonsense about this whole “caffeine as pre-workout thing,” an anhydrous caffeine supplement mixed with water could be the best thing for you. It probably won’t taste too great, but it will give you that straight shot of energy you need to kill your workout and boost your testosterone. You can order these just as you would a regular pre-workout supplement.
So what are you waiting for? Go forth and conquer your workout with a tried-and-true secret: caffeine. Not only will you feel more motivated, your inevitable gains will boost muscle mass and help maintain your high T levels.