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Best nootropics to eliminate caffeine dependency


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#1 RockandSoul

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:44 AM


I'd like to eliminate my caffeine dependency and brain fog. I have a challenging job and a very important certification exam so need to get an optimized nutrition and health plan in place.

My issue with caffeine stems from the fact that I get bad heartburn from it after awhile. I also feel that it is overstressing which along with pretty high work related stress leaves me feeling
burnout and anhedonia at night after returning home. Of course after I return home from work I need to study so that doesn't make it easy. Sometimes the excess caffeine makes me very tense and irritable. But without it I can be very lethargic. Definitely have some major dependency issues going on. Some fear it might be adrenal fatigue as well.

Here are my initial thoughts

1) Increase exercise, particularly aerobic for the stress relief and energy boost I get from it. I'm thinking of a daily workout of 30 minutes or so.

2) Start dropping out coffee in favor of tea (I have tons of tea) and I'm willing to quadruple my fluid intake to get the same boost of caffeine if need be, although this wouldnt relieve my dependency and not sure tea is that much easier on the heartburn.

3) Start in on the various supplement s I already have purchased but infrequently use. Am wlling to purchase whatever is recommended.
Heres what I have available in the cupboard

1) L-tyrosine
2) L-phenylanalanine
3) DMAE
4) Aniracatem
5) Pyritinol
6) PEA (been too afraid to take this)
7) choline bitartrate powder
8) Vitamin C
9) Vitamin D
10) B-12 sublingual
11) ALCAR and ALA combo
12) Centrum
13) Zinc
14) Magnesium
15) Turmeric
16) Ginger
17) Fish oil
18) L arginine
19) L lysine

What type of regimen would you recommend?

4) Finally try to increase my sleep from the 6-7 hours a night I normally get. Its fragmented sleep at that and it can range closer to the 6 hr range during the week.

Edited by RockandSoul, 01 February 2010 - 04:45 AM.


#2 M4Y0U

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 05:02 AM

I'd like to eliminate my caffeine dependency and brain fog. I have a challenging job and a very important certification exam so need to get an optimized nutrition and health plan in place.

My issue with caffeine stems from the fact that I get bad heartburn from it after awhile. I also feel that it is overstressing which along with pretty high work related stress leaves me feeling
burnout and anhedonia at night after returning home. Of course after I return home from work I need to study so that doesn't make it easy. Sometimes the excess caffeine makes me very tense and irritable. But without it I can be very lethargic. Definitely have some major dependency issues going on. Some fear it might be adrenal fatigue as well.

Here are my initial thoughts

1) Increase exercise, particularly aerobic for the stress relief and energy boost I get from it. I'm thinking of a daily workout of 30 minutes or so.

2) Start dropping out coffee in favor of tea (I have tons of tea) and I'm willing to quadruple my fluid intake to get the same boost of caffeine if need be, although this wouldnt relieve my dependency and not sure tea is that much easier on the heartburn.

3) Start in on the various supplement s I already have purchased but infrequently use. Am wlling to purchase whatever is recommended.
Heres what I have available in the cupboard

1) L-tyrosine
2) L-phenylanalanine
3) DMAE
4) Aniracatem
5) Pyritinol
6) PEA (been too afraid to take this)
7) choline bitartrate powder
8) Vitamin C
9) Vitamin D
10) B-12 sublingual
11) ALCAR and ALA combo
12) Centrum
13) Zinc
14) Magnesium
15) Turmeric
16) Ginger
17) Fish oil
18) L arginine
19) L lysine

What type of regimen would you recommend?

4) Finally try to increase my sleep from the 6-7 hours a night I normally get. Its fragmented sleep at that and it can range closer to the 6 hr range during the week.


Your regiment is ok if combined with a healthy diet. For the caffeine issue i would go with Rhodiola rosea. For the maximum health benefits from tea get some Japanese green tea. It is loaded with polyphenols and other phytochemicals. Personnaly i use Sencha Japanese green tea. So do a quick search on wikipedia about Rhodiola rosea and see how this stimulating adaptogen is good for you.

Best regards,
M4

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#3 Zoroaster

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:27 AM

Am I missing something or did you not list "cutting down on my caffeine intake" as one of the things on your list? I assume you're planning to cut down. Are you worried about withdrawal is that it? You're looking for something to compensate while you step down your caffeine intake?

#4 Traclo

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:39 PM

I too was surprised that you didn't list cutting down on caffeine as a way to reduce dependency.

What is notable about cutting back is that you can usually do it when you don't 'need' caffeine and tolerance still can be mostly eliminated. Caffeine tolerance and withdrawal symptoms usually disappear 1-5 days after stopping caffeine intake. So, what I do to reduce dependence on caffeine is to not take it on weekends. That way it is maximally effective when I need it most (weekdays are when classes are for me, and weekends I can usually try to catch up on sleep to mitigate not using caffeine), but I don't develop tolerance.

I suppose my advice is to use it as little as is reasonable so that it remains effective, and in the worst case, avoid it on weekends.

Edited by Traclo, 01 February 2010 - 02:46 PM.


#5 RockandSoul

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 05:08 PM

I too was surprised that you didn't list cutting down on caffeine as a way to reduce dependency.

What is notable about cutting back is that you can usually do it when you don't 'need' caffeine and tolerance still can be mostly eliminated. Caffeine tolerance and withdrawal symptoms usually disappear 1-5 days after stopping caffeine intake. So, what I do to reduce dependence on caffeine is to not take it on weekends. That way it is maximally effective when I need it most (weekdays are when classes are for me, and weekends I can usually try to catch up on sleep to mitigate not using caffeine), but I don't develop tolerance.

I suppose my advice is to use it as little as is reasonable so that it remains effective, and in the worst case, avoid it on weekends.


That is funny, but you guys are right, I didn't really come up with a plan to wean myself off of it yet.

I'm typing this as I sit here sipping my Cafe Americano from Starbucks (it is a little easier on my stomach than straight coffee because they mix down the espresso shots with water)

I do need to start eliminating it slowly. As I am studying alot for a huge certification exam in my field, I don't want to hurt my chances of passing by making any changes too quickly!


I'd like to get where I only use caffeine for pure safety considerations like when I drive 6 hours to visit family at night on some weekends.

#6 zm3thod

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:22 PM

I too was surprised that you didn't list cutting down on caffeine as a way to reduce dependency.

What is notable about cutting back is that you can usually do it when you don't 'need' caffeine and tolerance still can be mostly eliminated. Caffeine tolerance and withdrawal symptoms usually disappear 1-5 days after stopping caffeine intake. So, what I do to reduce dependence on caffeine is to not take it on weekends. That way it is maximally effective when I need it most (weekdays are when classes are for me, and weekends I can usually try to catch up on sleep to mitigate not using caffeine), but I don't develop tolerance.

I suppose my advice is to use it as little as is reasonable so that it remains effective, and in the worst case, avoid it on weekends.


That is funny, but you guys are right, I didn't really come up with a plan to wean myself off of it yet.

I'm typing this as I sit here sipping my Cafe Americano from Starbucks (it is a little easier on my stomach than straight coffee because they mix down the espresso shots with water)

I do need to start eliminating it slowly. As I am studying alot for a huge certification exam in my field, I don't want to hurt my chances of passing by making any changes too quickly!


I'd like to get where I only use caffeine for pure safety considerations like when I drive 6 hours to visit family at night on some weekends.


I've gone off caffeine after high use ( papers + finals + 23 hour drive will do that). If you take a lot of caffeine and abruptly stop it, there are chances for serious withdrawal, or just minor side-effects like headaches. I recommend tapering your dose off, making sure you know all dietary sources of caffeine beyond the obvious (certain painkillers, chocolate, etc) then stay off of it for about two weeks.

As far as supplements, L-Theanine might help you with the caffeine side-effects, and it is cheap. You may already be getting enough through your tea, I don't know. I'm experimenting with it right now
Wikipedia says that 5-hour energy has CDP Choline in it. You could try using your DMAE or Choline Bitartate for energy sources

Make sure your sleep is in order! Do what you can for those 7 hour nights, and try to maintain a consistent sleep/wake schedule. That makes a huge difference for me

Edited by zm3thod, 01 February 2010 - 07:27 PM.


#7 chrono

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 02:05 AM

Try to discover the reasons that you feel lethargic. Diet, lack of exercise, sleep? 6-7 hours of tossing & turning doesn't sound like enough. Cutting 1-2 hours out of your day might hurt your productivity, but it will be worth it to not require stimulants. Try to get enough sleep consistently for a week or two, and see how much difference it makes. If you're taking caffeine throughout the day, it may be one of the reasons your sleep is fragmented and you start the day feeling lethargic. There are a couple threads going on here about sleep supplements; I take magnesium citrate (soon to be taurate) at the end of the day, and it helps tremendously with my insomnia and the quality of my sleep. Good habits with regard to timing and sleep environment can help with quality of rest, as well.

Not taking much caffeine is the only way to break your dependence. Taper and reduce, or you'll get headaches. Try to only take it when it's really necessary, and get used to the idea that you're going to be tired/groggy some of the time until you readjust. Eliminate instances of drinking coffee/tea out of habit and ritual, and make sure you drink plenty of water, juice, cocoa, etc. so you're not thinking about caffeine drinks as much.

You may want to consider cutting out coffee/tea altogether and taking caffeine pills instead. It's very easy to take too much this way (especially if you're addicted/dependent), but it will eliminate your heartburn. Calculate exactly how much you're getting in the coffee you drink, and start tapering down from there. I don't take caffeine, but have a bottle of these with me when I travel in case I need to drive when I'm tired, and occasionally for important tasks or avoiding bouts of unusual somnolence (usually 1-2 times a month, total). What I notice is that people who drink huge amounts of coffee every day will liken me to a drug addict if they see me take half a 200mg tablet; my theory is that this method of administration makes it harder to ignore the fact that you're taking a drug, and not an energizing beverage. Buy a brand that is easy to break into pieces: Equate (Walmart) brand is very good for this and costs about $4 for 80x200mg. Vivarin are made harder than rocks to encourage you to take them whole.

Try to articulate all the reasons you take caffeine. You mention lethargy, but mood elevation and focus/concentration probably play a role as well? What is the "rest state" of your brain with regard to these factors? Do you suffer from anxiety/depression, or attentional problems? Dissatisfaction with aspects of your life that it helps you deal with? In addition to ameliorating the effects of withdrawal (which shouldn't be that bad if you taper properly), you should start formulating a stack to replace these other benefits that caffeine provides. Cognitive enhancement is a theme prevalent on these boards, but the presence of aniracetam in your cupboard suggests that you think along these lines already. There are some excellent threads here on focus/concentration/study aids; give us some more details and we can probably make some suggestions.

I think this is a wonderful goal, and reaching it will probably necessitate solving some attending problems in your lifestyle. Good luck, and keep us posted!
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#8 RockandSoul

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:45 PM

Try to discover the reasons that you feel lethargic. Diet, lack of exercise, sleep? 6-7 hours of tossing & turning doesn't sound like enough. Cutting 1-2 hours out of your day might hurt your productivity, but it will be worth it to not require stimulants. Try to get enough sleep consistently for a week or two, and see how much difference it makes. If you're taking caffeine throughout the day, it may be one of the reasons your sleep is fragmented and you start the day feeling lethargic. There are a couple threads going on here about sleep supplements; I take magnesium citrate (soon to be taurate) at the end of the day, and it helps tremendously with my insomnia and the quality of my sleep. Good habits with regard to timing and sleep environment can help with quality of rest, as well.

Not taking much caffeine is the only way to break your dependence. Taper and reduce, or you'll get headaches. Try to only take it when it's really necessary, and get used to the idea that you're going to be tired/groggy some of the time until you readjust. Eliminate instances of drinking coffee/tea out of habit and ritual, and make sure you drink plenty of water, juice, cocoa, etc. so you're not thinking about caffeine drinks as much.

You may want to consider cutting out coffee/tea altogether and taking caffeine pills instead. It's very easy to take too much this way (especially if you're addicted/dependent), but it will eliminate your heartburn. Calculate exactly how much you're getting in the coffee you drink, and start tapering down from there. I don't take caffeine, but have a bottle of these with me when I travel in case I need to drive when I'm tired, and occasionally for important tasks or avoiding bouts of unusual somnolence (usually 1-2 times a month, total). What I notice is that people who drink huge amounts of coffee every day will liken me to a drug addict if they see me take half a 200mg tablet; my theory is that this method of administration makes it harder to ignore the fact that you're taking a drug, and not an energizing beverage. Buy a brand that is easy to break into pieces: Equate (Walmart) brand is very good for this and costs about $4 for 80x200mg. Vivarin are made harder than rocks to encourage you to take them whole.

Try to articulate all the reasons you take caffeine. You mention lethargy, but mood elevation and focus/concentration probably play a role as well? What is the "rest state" of your brain with regard to these factors? Do you suffer from anxiety/depression, or attentional problems? Dissatisfaction with aspects of your life that it helps you deal with? In addition to ameliorating the effects of withdrawal (which shouldn't be that bad if you taper properly), you should start formulating a stack to replace these other benefits that caffeine provides. Cognitive enhancement is a theme prevalent on these boards, but the presence of aniracetam in your cupboard suggests that you think along these lines already. There are some excellent threads here on focus/concentration/study aids; give us some more details and we can probably make some suggestions.

I think this is a wonderful goal, and reaching it will probably necessitate solving some attending problems in your lifestyle. Good luck, and keep us posted!



Thanks to all for the suggestions. I do hope to rid myself of this caffeine dependency, but at the same time I need to study alot so it will be challenging.

Then again I need only to look at my wife who drinks very little to no caffeine (only the occasional cup of tea and even that not daily) and doesn't exercise but can still run circles around me energy wise.

#9 magellan

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 05:14 AM

n-acetyl L-tyrosine
rhodiola
CDP choline

I've used all these from time to time instead of caffeine
they may work well with nootropics too

#10 Healthy56

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 12:11 AM

n-acetyl L-tyrosine
rhodiola
CDP choline

I've used all these from time to time instead of caffeine
they may work well with nootropics too


I broke my caffeine habit with the use of Rhodiola . . . However, I'll occasionally break my own rules and take two caps of MBS-13 along with a shot of espresso. It is one of the most incredible mind-opening experiences, especially when I am on deadline and have a writing project to work on. The words just flow!!!

#11 RockandSoul

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 05:53 PM

What is MBS-13?

I keep debating about totally going off caffeine. It'd probably improve my GERD (reflux etc) alot as it has in the past when I quit coffee. For the record the caffeine tabs might be a better use, it is still hard on the stomach but something about coffee and it's acidity is even more tough.

I have a ton of tea so I'm using that to come down slowly from caffeine.

Yesterday I drank herbal tea (no caffeine in the morning) and waited as long as I could to fight the coffee craving. On the drive back I picked up some Dunkin Donuts, had a donut and a few sips of coffee. Got the small and didn't even drink half of it. That's will power.

Then at about 5pm, I took a 3 hour nap. Woke up for an hour or two and was back in bed for a huge night of sleep 10 PM until about 9:30 AM.

I must have some huge sleep deficits, but I think it's mainly burnout due to work (no chance for vacation soon) and study. There probably is some mild depression in there, recovering from all the crazy changes I made in 2009, new job, new city, marriage, etc. Lots of long hours at work.

Doing more exercise again. Counting on that to hold me over.

I am one of those people who abuse caffeine. Energy drinks. Starbucks regular, and I take it to the point of stomach trouble and heart skipping beats at times. Not good for me.

#12 TophetLOL

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 11:15 AM

Coca tea is something to look into if you don't have drug tests. It's easy on the stomach and a mild stimulant.

#13 Blue

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 12:18 PM

Could try using caffeine tablets instead of what coffee you must take. Like many smokers find it useful to use pure nicotine products initially. Will break the association between caffeine and a relaxing pause with a tasty hot drink.

#14 bran319

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 03:08 PM

SAM-e and Ibuprofen. Go cold turkey over a weekend and take between 800-1600mgs. of SAM-e split over two doses along with the Ibuprofen as needed for headaches. After the acute withdrawal passes keep the SAM-e at 4-800mgs.

Good luck!

#15 RockandSoul

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 06:11 PM

The SamE isn't a bad idea. I haven't slept as much as I did this weekend when going off caffeine. I havent tried SamE yet but have looked at it several times at the CVS/Walgreens and always skipped it due to the price.

I would love to get coca tea as it sounds great, but pretty much impossible to get that in the USA I'd imagine.

Edited by RockandSoul, 08 February 2010 - 06:11 PM.


#16 bran319

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 08:15 PM

It worked for me. I get the doctors best brand off iHerb. Much better price.

#17 russianBEAR

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 08:46 PM

I notice that when I exercise, I hardly ever want to take caffeine or alcohol. If you know you have to be in the gym the next day, then you're not going to be drinking, because it's pure hell the next day. Caffeine also has that effect.

However, when you exercise you just feel much better and more energetic, and the need for caffeine is eliminated.

I've been nursing a shoulder and knee injury lately, plus completely slacking off and not getting my ass out to the weight room when I was good to go, so my caffeine and alcohol intake is up. I know as soon as I start exercising, the intake of both will go down significantly to where it's a non-factor.

The other side of it is that if you're in top shape, then stuff like hangovers and caffeine withdrawals barely bothers you at all.

#18 manic_racetam

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:46 AM

Noopept works really well at negating caffeine withdrawal symptoms. I used it the last time I quit caffeine and didn't experience any headaches or fatigue. It was an accidental coincidence but I'll definitely use Noopept in the future when I decide to quit caffeine the next time.

#19 abelard lindsay

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 04:41 AM

I recently successfully cut my caffeine intake back from about 600mg to 200mg a day and completely stopped drinking diet soda. Recently, I've had days where I had no caffeine and felt ok. I used to get severe withdrawal symptoms if I went a day or so without caffeine.

The technique is as follows:

1. Drink only water.
2. When you have a severe caffeine craving let a caffeine pill slowly dissolve in your cheek over the course of an hour or so while occasionally sipping water.

This decouples the association between soda or coffee drinking and caffeine in the brain and is a good way to drip a minimum amount of caffeine into one's system to keep from regressing back to earlier habits. I use Natrol High Caffeine pills which have the least amount of crap ingredients in them any of the other caffeine pills I looked at.
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#20 nupi

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 12:51 PM

I am cheating and drinking Decaf Espresso (oh and some chocolate), other than craving the taste of real coffee, I did not really encounter any true withdrawals (and I was drinking copious amounts of coffee before)




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