Optimize Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine is a great study aid . . . if you use it correctly.  As the most consumed stimulant in the world, you’ll find almost wherever you travel.  Physiological effects include stimulating the central nervous system, stimulating the heart and lungs, inducing urine formation, and increasing blood pressure.  It is widely used in academics for its ability to improve vigilance.

Caffeine extends the total amount of time you stay awake if you’re pulling an all-nighter.  It helps you stay alert during the lull times of the day.  Besides aiding mental tasks, it treats some physical symptoms.  “Caffeine  is used in treating migraine because it constricts the dilated blood vessels and thereby reduces the pain.  It also increases the potency of analgesics . . .” (Encarta).  This is the reason why it is an active ingredient of Excedrin.

Many people binge drink caffeine and don’t get its full effects.  This post will show you the best way to drink caffeine to improve studying.

1. Choose your caffeine source.

My favorites are those Starbucks Double Shot cans.  A close second is No-Doz tablets with fruit juice .  Double shots seem to have this perfect amount of glucose to caffeine ratio.  A few minutes after the first gulp, I can feel more alert but not jittery.  It also tastes great chilled or at room temperature.  Another plus is the portability.  The only thing that prevents me from drinking double shots is the hideous expensiveness.  If I remember correctly, its $2 a pop.  That’s why I can only buy these during midterms/finals.

A cheaper but less effective alternative is No-Doz tablets with fruit juice.  The No-Doz provides the caffeine and the fruit juice provides the glucose.  The reason why I have caffeine with glucose is because together both enhance the effects.  I use this method when doing normal studying and the other Starbucks method for big exams.

2. Take the right amount.

The magic formula seems to be 0.3mg per kg per hour.  To find how many kg you weigh, just divide the amount of pounds you weigh by 2.2.  So if you’re 140 pounds, then you’re 64 kg.  Then multiply that by 0.3.  So for this example 64 kg x 0.3 mg/kg = 19.2 mg of caffeine PER HOUR.

A 6.5 ounce Starbucks Double Shot can contains 120mg of caffeine.  That is 18.5 mg per ounce.  So ideally, you could just drink 1 ounce/hour.  However, I start by drinking about a fourth of the can in a single gulp for my “loading dose” (I learned something in pharmacokinetics).  This way I can get more caffeine in my system quickly.  Then I start drinking the rest of the can ounce by ounce.

**Note: I found my loading dose through trial and error.  I’m sure that’s a formula but I don’t want to dig through my pharmacokinetics notes.

For No-Doz, its a lot harder to dose accurately because of the tablet form.  One tablet is 200 mg, so half a tablet is 100 mg.  The most convenient thing I do is take half a tablet with a glass of juice.  Then a few hours later, take another half tablet with a glass of juice.  I know its not as exact as Starbucks Double Shots . . . oh well.

3. Take it at the right time.

Due to its high lipid solubility, caffeine crosses the blood-brain barrier quickly.  This can be affected by other drugs in your body as well as what you ate/drank with the caffeine.  Usually, from experience and via sources on the web, 20 minutes prior to activity is a good time to start caffeine.  Under normal circumstances, the caffeine levels will peak at 1 hour before starting to clear.  It takes about 3-4 hours to clear.

**Make sure not to take caffeine within 4 hours before you sleep.

Next up, Ritalin and Adderall.

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3 Responses to “Optimize Caffeine Consumption”

  1. 9.02.08 Featured blogs of the day « Student Bloggers Says:

    […] a public service for college students everywhere – the most scientific explanation of caffeine use you’ll ever need. [The Pharmacy […]

  2. pharmacykid Says:

    Thx, Student Bloggers. Your support and link backs are one reason why I continue to (try) blog regularly.

  3. Adderall Prescription Medication Says:

    My name is Amy Rollins and i would like to show you my personal experience with Adderall.

    I have taken for 1 years. I am 20 years old. I have better luck with Adderall 20MG non-extended release than I do with Adderall XR 10MG, which is what I am prescribed. The XR wears off before the day is over, which leaves you with an awful crash to deal with. (Obviously, if you’d like to sleep regularly you shouldn’t take another…so crashing off this particular dosage is almost inevitable.) They say you should drink caffeine towards the end of the day to try to ward off the symptoms of coming down off this drug.

    Side Effects :
    loss of appetite,dry mouth,insomnia,bad crash after about 7 hours,fidgety,rapid heartbeat,more productive,if taken for months regularly I start to feel less like myself,lower sex drive.

    I hope this information will be useful to others,
    Amy Rollins

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