Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women

Nutrients. 2015 Nov 19;7(11):9618-32. doi: 10.3390/nu7115484.


Theacrine is a purine alkaloid found primarily in the leaves of the Camellia Kucha plant and is now included within dietary supplements. To compare the effects of a theacrine-containing dietary supplement with caffeine and placebo on energy and mood, as well as objective measures of cognitive performance, heart rate, and blood pressure, 10 healthy men (20.8 ± 0.7 years) and 10 healthy women (22.2 ± 1.1 years) ingested the dietary supplement TheaTrim (Purus Labs; containing a branded form of theacrine (Teacrine™) and caffeine (150 mg)), caffeine only (150 mg), or a placebo on three different days, separated by approximately one week. Before, and for up to 4 h following, ingestion of the assigned condition, subjects completed a subjective assessment of energy and mood, as well as tests of cognitive performance (trail making test (TMT), digit symbol substitution test (DSST)), and reaction time. Heart rate and blood pressure were measured. No condition or interaction effects were noted for TMT, DSST, or reaction time, despite a trend for improvement in selected variables with both TheaTrim and caffeine treatment. Condition effects or trends were noted for subjective feelings, with values for attentive, alert, focused, and energetic higher for TheaTrim than for placebo and caffeine, while values for lethargic and groggy were lower for TheaTrim than for placebo and caffeine. Heart rate and blood pressure were largely unaffected by treatment. These data indicate that TheaTrim treatment does not result in a statistically significant improvement in cognitive performance but may favorably impact multiple subjective feelings related to energy and mood.

Keywords: caffeine; dietary supplements; digit symbol substitution test; reaction time; theacrine; trail making test.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Camellia / chemistry
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Reaction Time
  • Uric Acid / administration & dosage
  • Uric Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Extracts
  • Uric Acid
  • Caffeine
  • 1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid