Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Holy Grail.

Caffeine.  The perfect drug.  And proof that the little baby Jesus really does love us.  Unfortunately, most people don't know how to do it properly.  It doesn't matter how  you ingest it (coffee, tea, energy drink), there are right ways and wrong ways.  Here's how to get the biggest 'bang' for your buck:

1) Consume in small, frequent amounts.  Between 20-200mg per hour may be an optimal dose for cognitive function.

2) Play to your cognitive strengths while wired.  Caffeine may increase the speed with which you work, may decrease attentional lapses, and may even benefit recall - but is less likely to benefit more complex cognitive functions, and may even hurt others. Plan accordingly (and preferably prior to consuming caffeine!)

3) Play to caffeine's strengths.  Caffeine's effects can be maximized or minimized depending on what else is in your system at the time.  The beneficial effects of caffeine may be most pronounced in conjunction with sugar. For example, one factor analytic study hasshown caffeine-glucose cocktails provide benefits to cognition not seen with either alone.

4) Know when to stop - and when to start again.  Although you may not grow strongly tolerant to caffeine, you can become dependent on it and suffer withdrawal symptoms. Balance these concerns with the cognitive and health benefits associated with caffeine consumption - and appropriately timed resumption.

5) Finding good sources of caffeine.  Despite the huge variety of sources of caffeine - including caffeinated soapcandy, and of course chocolate - the optimal use of caffeine is likely to involve small, hourly doses along with some cardioprotective agent.

That's all for now.  Heed the knowledge and grow awesome Buckos.

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