Almost everyone needs caffeine to get the mind and body working at the start of the day. However, too much caffeine in the system is not at all healthy, but trying to quit it cold turkey is not easy either. Caffeine withdrawal may cause further problems. So, how does one quit caffeine? Some users suggest that the use of amino acids such as tyrosine and phenylalanine may help. Between the two, which works best? Here is a rundown on Tyrosine vs. Phenylalanine.
What is Caffeine Withdrawal?
The world’s most psychoactive and addictive substance is caffeine. This stimulant works on the central nervous system by affecting neural activity. By doing so, it increases alertness while reducing fatigue. While it may sound good, it causes more harm than good, especially if an individual becomes highly reliant on caffeine.
Eliminating caffeine leads to withdrawal, and the symptoms usually begin within 24 hours after discontinuing caffeine intake. Caffeine withdrawal can affect any individual who consumes caffeine regularly, and it is a recognized medical diagnosis as well.
Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal
The common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include the following.
Blood vessels in the brain constrict due to caffeine. Constricted blood vessels lead to slow blood circulation. By reducing or discontinuing caffeine, the blood vessels that are usually narrowed by the stimulant start to open up. This leads to an increase in blood circulation to the brain.
Due to the abrupt change in blood circulation, caffeine withdrawal leads to headaches. These headaches vary in severity and duration since the brain takes time to adapt to the sudden increase of blood circulation.
Since caffeine is a stimulant, it raises blood pressure and heart rate. Moreover, it increases the Tyrosine and Phenylalanine production and release of the hormones epinephrine and cortisol. So, when caffeine is discontinued, it may lead to feelings of anxiety. This is because the body becomes too reliant on the stimulant.
Coffee drinkers tend to be irritable in the morning, especially if they have yet to drink their cup of coffee. Caffeine is to blame for this irritability since this stimulant lasts approximately four to six hours in the body. So, for individuals hoping to quit caffeine, their mood may be negatively affected.
Apart from a wake-up call, caffeine serves as an energy booster. It reduces fatigue and increases alertness. So, taking it out from the diet causes an opposite reaction. An individual may feel fatigued and drowsy.
5. Difficulty Focusing
Caffeine is commonly used to help increase concentration since it boosts adrenaline in the system. This hormone is responsible for improving concentration and alertness. Thus, a significant reduction of caffeine may lead to poor concentration, especially for individuals who have become too reliant on the stimulant.
This is not a common symptom of caffeine withdrawal, and it only manifests in individuals who have a severe dependency on coffee. As caffeine works on the central nervous system, some side effects of excessive caffeine intake include shaky hands or tremors. Quitting caffeine also leads to the same side effects. The duration of the tremors may last nine days. However, if the tremors exceed nine days, then it is best to consult with a primary healthcare provider.
Numerous studies claim that caffeine helps reduce the risk of getting depression. As a stimulant, caffeine works by elevating one’s mood and energy. So, a reduction in caffeine may lead to depression.
Phases to Quitting Caffeine
Quitting caffeine should not be done abruptly. It involves three phases to help the body get rid of caffeine without withdrawal symptoms.
- Weaning: This phase involves slowly weaning caffeine from the diet. For those who usually drink two to three cups in a day, wean it down to two cups and then one cup in a day.
- Replacement: In this phase, replace caffeine with a nootropic which works the same way. It provides the same effects as caffeine such as increased concentration, a boost of energy, and a positive mood.
- Re-Introduction: For this phase, an individual no longer depends on caffeine to get started in the day. Instead, caffeine is used only for specific situations.
Kick Caffeine Cravings: L-Tyrosine and DL-Phenylalanine
L-tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine are compounds that serve as antecedents to neurotransmitters. Both compounds restore brain chemistry homeostasis and boost mood. While L-tyrosine ameliorates caffeine withdrawal, DL-phenylalanine is used in combination with benzodiazepines for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.
Tyrosine Vs. Phenylalanine
Between L-tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine, which works best? The choice boils down to an individual’s preference. For those who want a mild stimulating effect, tyrosine is the best choice. As for phenylalanine, while it does not offer a stimulating effect, it may resolve a deficiency in tyrosine. Moreover, as it is an essential amino acid, it aids in the production of amino acids which also include tyrosine.
The recommended dosage is 500 mg for both compounds. It is highly advised to stick to 500 mg and not anything over this amount according to long-time users.
On the first two days, approximately 1000 mg of the chosen amino acid should be taken in the morning. An additional 1000 mg is then taken at lunch. On the succeeding two days, 500 mg is consumed in the morning, and an additional 500 mg is consumed at lunch.
This dosage is recommended for six days, but if an individual notice that they need to consume coffee is gone, then the regimen may be ended early.
Avoiding Caffeine Withdrawal Naturally
For those who wish to skip the supplements and go for a natural way to avoid caffeine withdrawal, here are some tips that may work.
Wean Off the Amount
Suddenly cutting off caffeine from the diet may cause severe withdrawal symptoms from caffeine. Rather than quitting it cold turkey, weaning off caffeine intake gradually. This, in turn, reduces the unpleasant adverse reactions associated with caffeine withdrawal.
Consume Enough Water
When taking out caffeine from the diet, one must make sure to stay well-hydrated. Dehydration may lead to worsening of caffeine withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and headache.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Aside from slowly weaning off from regular intake of caffeine, reduce the dependence on this stimulant. Swap coffee for herbal teas that contain half the amount of caffeine. One may also opt to consume decaf coffee.
Sleep at Least Eight Hours
The recommended hours of sleep is seven to nine. Fight off the fatigue that comes with caffeine withdrawal by making sure one gets the recommended hours of sleep in a day.
Use Natural Ways to Improve Energy
Rather than reaching for a cup of Joe to get the energy running, opt for natural methods to boost one’s energy. Such methods include exercise or nutrient-packed food.