Caffeine has been a staple drink for many civilizations across millennia, so it is fair to say that we have developed quite a taste for it over the years. Natural caffeine is found in several continents, such as the Coffea plant which grows in Africa and tropical Asia.
However, synthetic caffeine has become increasingly common in both soft and energy drinks over recent years. These are two entirely different compounds despite both acting as stimulants, so it is vital to know the difference and learn exactly what you’re putting into your body.
As mentioned above, natural caffeine is extracted from plants in various forms. Most caffeine in the world is made from a coffee bean, actually a seed of the aforementioned Coffea plant, with about 10 million tonnes of these beans consumed across 2020. The substance can also be found in the berries of the guaraná plant, the leaves of the yerba-maté plant, and the nuts of certain Cola trees.
The composition of synthetic caffeine obviously depends on the specific concoction, but the main component is usually urea. This is a waste product produced in the blood, sweat, and urine of mammals which is also used in beauty products. This urea is then treated with other chemicals such as ethyl acetate, sodium nitrate, and even trace amounts of chloroform.
The amounts of these chemicals are definitely not enough to cause significant adverse effects, but they still might not be substances you want to take into your body so frequently.
Both natural and synthetic caffeine do what we expect of the substance – they help us stay awake. However, they do this in different ways. This means our body will metabolize them differently, completely changing the specifics of how we process and experience them.
Natural caffeine is balanced out quite well by many vitamins and antioxidants that are usually found present in the same plant. This means that consuming natural caffeine will produce a steady and gradual release of the substance across the day, which alleviates many (if not all) of the adverse effects we associate with caffeine.
Conversely, synthetic caffeine is processed by the digestive system much more quickly. In the short-term, this might feel like a benefit, as it provides a faster and bigger ‘spike’ of the caffeine sensation – perhaps when you need it most. The other side of this double-edged sword is that this makes a harsh ‘crash’ far more likely. This refers to the drowsiness and other negative symptoms which can occur after the drink wears off; these are practically non-existent with natural sources of caffeine.
In practice, natural and synthetic caffeine are very different substances, grouped primarily by the intent of the latter to replicate the former. Despite their similar composition and selling point, synthetic caffeine does not seem to adequately replicate the gradual benefits of its natural counterpart. At Centurion Labs, all of our caffeine products are created using organic sources because we understand the importance of this distinction. Try our just energy products today and see for yourself why natural caffeine remains the best.