BACKGROUND: Theacrine (TCR) is a natural supplement found in the Camellia kucha plant that exhibits stimulant properties and is structurally similar to caffeine. Preliminary evidence shows beneficial effects, including improved feelings of energy with no increase in hemodynamic variables after consumption. However, TCR has not been proven to enhance cognitive performance. The lack of impact of TCR consumption on hemodynamic variables and objective cognitive performance measures could be attributed to low-intake doses utilized in previous studies. Additionally, this study will be the first to investigate the impact of a TCR-exclusive supplement on salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase (sAA), two measures of physiological stress. Therefore, this study will use larger TCR doses relative to body weight to determine if higher doses impact hemodynamic variables, cognitive measures, and physiological stress. The findings of this study will contribute to further analysis of TCR as a viable alternative to caffeine for individuals with hypertension, tachycardia, or regular caffeine consumers wanting to avoid a stimulant with adverse effects. METHODS: The proposed study will be a randomized, double-blind, crossover design that will recruit 30 men and women (18-30 years) who are habitual caffeine consumers (> 2 days/week). Participants will be brought into the laboratory for one baseline testing visit and four experimental visits with at least a 7-day washout period between each visit. Participants will be randomly assigned one of the four treatments during each experimental visit: Placebo (PLA), 3 mg/kg TCR, 6 mg/kg TCR, or 9 mg/kg TCR. Brachial heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) will be assessed, and salivary cortisol and sAA will be analyzed via ELISA. Feelings of energy, alertness, and mood will be assessed via an online Visual Analog Scale. The Trail Making Test and a Flanker Inhibitory Control and Attention Task will be completed online to assess cognitive performance. These measurements will be completed six times each experimental visit, pre-treatment, then 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 minutes post-treatment. Data will be analyzed via repeated measures ANOVA. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: It is hypothesized that higher doses of TCR will improve feelings of energy without increasing HR, BP, salivary cortisol, and sAA. Additionally, this study anticipates that high TCR doses will improve cognitive performance.

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