Short answer is yes, if it's the right product without artificial ingredients such as preservatives, flavorings, dyes, which can be unhealthy for our bodies, it would be ok. BUT It also comes down to the daily intake amount of caffeine, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers 400 milligrams to be a safe amount for your average adult.
Now, just because it's within the "safe" zone, it doesn't necessarily mean it's working properly or affecting you body positively. Have you ever experienced jitters and crashing? Have you ever had to scale up the amount of your daily caffeine consumption because it wasn't cutting it anymore? Yes, me too, especially as a surgeon working long hours. THAT'S when things can go wrong really quickly.
The science behind caffeine
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To understand what's happening, let's talk about the science behind caffeine and how it affects our bodies. Caffeine has a number of different effects, both on your central nervous system and your body, it accomplishes those things by basically blocking certain pathways that are causing your body to relax. You have to think of your body as constantly being in a state of potential relaxation or potential excitation, It's almost like your body has one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake and by toggling back and forth, you can have a net effect of being revved up and ready to go or being relaxed and ready to chill.
In your central nervous system, caffeine works by blocking something called the adenosine receptor. It's a receptor in your brain and when it's activated, it leads to a number of different effects in your brain that have to do with relaxation. It prepares you for sleep or rest so your body, your central nervous system in particular, is constantly in a process of modulating and regulating how much you are in one state versus the other. When caffeine blocks those receptors, it basically pushes you into the alert, awake, and ready to go phase of neural function.
Now, on the rest of your body it does something similar. It blocks something called phosphodiesterase, which is an enzyme that will break down the activating molecule called cyclic AMP. Not to get super scientific and technical, but cyclic AMP's levels are high, it results in the activation of your heart's function and the activation of your adrenal glands to release norepinephrine and adrenaline and a number of different things. The molecule called cyclic AMP is there to activate those things and get you going, but it gets blocked by something called phosphodiesterase and caffeine blocks phosphodiesterase. So when phosphodiesterase gets blocked, then all of these other things go uninhibited and when they're uninhibited, you are revved and charged and ready to go.
So, are the effects of daily caffeine good or bad?
Caffeine comes in a number of different forms. It's mostly associated with coffee and tea. And it's important that those formulations get discussed. Let's take any plant product that contains caffeine which can be found in a number of different plant products including chocolate, coffee, and tea. When you take any of those plant products and grind them down to a fine powder and pour boiling water over it, the boiling water will extract a number of different molecules, including caffeine. And the liquid that's left over is a concentrated form of those molecules. You're not eating a mouthful of coffee beans, you are extracting caffeine molecules into the coffee brew that you then, drink.
The problem with that is that it gets rapidly absorbed in your GI tract and your blood, the levels of caffeine go up pretty sharply and they immediately begin to be metabolized. Now, if you look at the metabolic rate of caffeine, it kind of varies from human to human, but it can be as short as one and a half-hour or as long as 6 to 8 hours, depending on which kind of metabolic program you're under. The net effect is that the moment you drink a caffeine extract like coffee or tea, it immediately hits the blood and it immediately begins to be metabolized.
In my life, I often start surgery at about 6:30 in the morning, and it's not uncommon for an operation
to go six, seven, eight, nine hours or more. I don't take breaks, we can't stop and go to the bathroom, get something to eat, or drink something. You have to be focused for that entire amount of time. The problem I had ingesting any caffeine extracts is that I was feeling the jitters, the inevitable crash, and the constant scaling up the caffeine levels to keep up with my lifestyle and I didn't like that, especially as a surgeon, I needed steady hands.
After trying everything in the market, from mushroom coffees, to teas galore, the only option that kept calling my name was Yerba Mate, which is a plant I was very comfortable with growing up, coming from my southern Brazilian roots. So I went back to it and did some research, on the hunt to find a sustainable daily option for me as a physician.
That's how Tchê was born.
The solution to a healthier, smarter, and more sustaining energy drink
When I was creating Tchê, one of the key aspects was making sure that you have energy now and you have energy hours from now. The way we achieved that was pretty clever: we used a combination of two plant based caffeine sources. There is no coffee in Tchê, there's no black tea in Tchê. We use a plant called Yerba Mate that comes from the south of Brazil in the region called the Pampas region, which includes a few other countries in South America as well. As I come from the south of Brazil I was very aware that in those regions the people would drink a tea form of Yerba Mate.
We took that knowledge as a base, and took a really high quality yerba mate that we milled into a pharmaceutical grade powder. But this Yerba Mate Tchê powder is a whole plant product, it's not a caffeine extract. When you drink Tchê, you are literally ingesting the whole yerba mate plant. And what that does is forces your body to slowly metabolize the plant over several hours. The net effect is a delayed and sustained release of caffeine into your body.
Now, that's great for kind of a sustained release throughout the day, but you need something now too, so we added to this formulation another plant from the north of Brazil, in the Amazon called Guarana. Guarana looks like a black nut and when it gets milled it becomes this dark brown powder. Guarana powder is slightly higher in caffeine concentration and hit your system faster.
When you drink a cup of Tchê, you are getting plant based caffeine from guarana and from yerba mate. Because they have a differential absorption rate, the net effect is you get immediate alertness and the moment you finish your cup, you're like, oh I'm ready to go. But the interesting thing is that a few hours later, when normally you're experiencing a crash and normally you're starting to fade, it's when you get a second wave from that yerba mate being digested slowly in your small intestine. It's super exciting and we tested this over months and months and months and months, getting the right proportion, getting the right fineness of the powder, and making sure that they balanced right.
The net effect is that you have energy now and you have energy later. Now, we realize that there are some people who drink a large cup of coffee twice a day, and there are some people who seldom drink coffee or seldom drink caffeine at all, so we wanted to make sure that we had a product that worked for everybody so we have three different caffeine concentrations of it:
20 to 25 milligrams of caffeine per serving, as much as a hot chocolate.
70 to 75 milligrams of caffeine per serving, as much as a caffeinated soda.
140 milligrams of caffeine per serving, as much as a cup of coffee or energy drink.
Each one of those is going to work differently for different people. If you're a hardcore caffeine drinker, you want Tchê 140, which is going to work on that level for you. If you're used to 150 milligrams of caffeine and I give you something that provides you with 30 milligrams of caffeine, you're going to feel a major difference and probably going to feel terrible, have a headache, and be unsatisfied. You're not going to be able to focus because you're not used to operating under those conditions.
Now, if your goal is to wean yourself from caffeine, I think that's reasonable. But for me, that doesn't work. I need to be able to function optimally. In fact, I need caffeine now and I need it to last for 8 hours. That was the impetus. That's what got us started along the pathway to create Tchê.
To recap, we have two forms of organic plant based caffeine and with this form of caffeine comes all of the fiber, all the nutrients, all the vitamins with it, they come piggybacked in. It's not a caffeine extract, it's whole plant based. The net effect is that you feel it immediately and it sustains you much longer than the energy drinks that I was used to.
I have friends who would ask me is as a physician, Hey dude, what should I take every day? Should I be taking a multivitamin? Should I take testosterone? Should I take this or this or that? And look, I'm
not going to opine on all those things, but there are some things that every adult should take. Every adult should take a multivitamin, a good probiotic, a high dose of fiber, and as much antioxidants as they can.
Tchê has all of those things. It checks all of those boxes. Your 60 year old self is going to thank you. If you're taking a lot of antioxidant, if you're taking collagen, if you're taking a probiotic, if you're taking prebiotic fiber, if you're taking a multivitamin, all of those things add up.
A perfect morning ritual needs the plant based caffeine that will hit you right away, it needs to have form and function, and to have the health benefit. It's important that has all of those things while tasting great, which it does. It's got to make you feel great and help you do whatever you do.
We have an ethos here at Tchê where we don't care who you are, we just care about what you do. So I don't care if you're cleaning toilets, if you're selling cars, if you're doing brain surgery, if you're fixing houses, whatever your thing is we respect that and we respect what you do. We made this to help you do what you do and our commitment to you is that when you use this, it's going to help you do what you do and it's going to check all those boxes that you need so that when you're 60 and 70, you'll be a little bit better off.
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