When I say the phrase: “I need energy,” what is the first word that comes to mind? For 95% of you reading this, I’m guessing the word you thought of was “caffeine”. Okay, maybe it was “coffee.” Now think about if you needed healthy energy, and there was no caffeine around, what would you look for? There’s not a ton of options out there that are not overtly deleterious to your body and lifestyle if you’re looking for healthy energy (at least that you’re currently familiar with). My point is this: caffeine and energy go hand in hand in the United States. This is almost the only source of energy that we have any association with, so naturally this is the definition of energy to most of us. However, did you know that caffeine actually doesn’t give you energy? Instead, it signals to your brain that you aren’t tired. In terms of performance, caffeine does not improve your cognitive function, but rather “reduces the degradation of performance because of fatigue and boredom.” While caffeine can help elevate mood, alertness, and postpone sleep, higher daily doses of caffeine can directly “produce increases in subjects self-ratings of tension and anxiety,” as well as “decrease hand steadiness,” create feelings of restlessness, and increase heart-rate over the baseline for non-sleep deprived individuals. While we at MetaMatcha cannot deny the clear value caffeine delivers in our bustling lifestyles, we must ask the question: if we aren’t getting actual energy or cognitive benefit from caffeine, should we be using it exclusively?
As contributing members of society- constrained by the mere 24 hours in a day- we had also gotten caught up in the caffeine epidemic that has taken hold of America in the last decade. As much as we were not enthusiastic with the daily side effects of excessive coffee and energy drink consumption, we didn’t think there was any difference in the energy inside the bottles, but rather just a difference in taste, carbonation, sugar, and the laundry list of unfamiliar ingredients on the not-so-nutritious facts. A persistent search and relentless curiosity for an alternative form of energy led us to Matcha, and the amazing effects of L-Theanine.
L-Theanine on its own does not contribute significantly to enhancing cognition. However, when paired with caffeine, L-Theanine delivers a synergistically additive effect (i.e. 1+1=3). Not only do studies show that L-Theanine tends to take off the edge caffeine brings with respect to ‘jitters’ and lowering caffeine-induced hypertension, but it also improves alertness, attentional switching accuracy (task switching), and cognitive flexibility. Moreover, another study has shown that the combination of L-Theanine and caffeine significantly improves reaction time, increases accuracy in visual processing, reduces mental fatigue, and enhances working memory function more significantly than when using caffeine just by itself. Caffeine on its own has proven insignificant in aiding in many of the aforementioned categories within cognition (e.g. reaction time, accuracy in visual processing, and quicker working memory function). This combination between caffeine and L-Theanine is the Zen-like healthy energy that Matcha green tea provides. As we studied Matcha green tea more, we started to discover other super-ingredients that delivered healthy energy and cognitive enhancement unlike anything else we’d come across.
One of these super-foods is the adaptogen Ashwagandha. Originally utilized in Ayurvedic medicine, it was used to impart strength and vigor in immune-response to illness. Coming from the same family as the tomato, Ashwagandha- through the years- has become known as one of the most powerful adaptogens and bases of the best nootropic stacks out there due to the large amounts of clinical testing done (compared to other neutraceuticals). If you are unfamiliar with the term “adaptogen,” it refers to a “substance (a combination of amino acids, vitamins, and herbs-any calming nootropic you’ve seen before really) that modulates your response to stress or a changing environment,” and can “help the body cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment and internal stresses such an anxiety and insomnia.” In this sense, Ashwagandha does not help produce additional energy, but helps us more efficiently free up the use of energy that we are precluded from using due to chronic stress. When the stress hormone “cortisol” is decreased (and this hormone is responsible for “many of the adverse effects of stress”), subjects of the studies explained an “increase in energy levels, reduced fatigue, better sleep, and a general enhanced sense of well-being.” And although Ashwagandha does not create energy, it has been clinically tested to result in cognitive enhancement in both chronically stressed and healthy individuals. This is accomplished through the amazing regenerative effects Ashwagandha has on almost the entire nervous system. Ashwagandha has been confirmed to have regenerative and growth effects on axons, dendrites, and synapses, which means that Ashwagandha has applications in preventing, slowing, and even curing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. For healthy individuals, this means that the benefits of Ashwagandha can help bring cognitive enhancement in learning performance and concentration, mental focus and sharpness, and aid in maintaining mental alertness when feeling fatigue.
Ashwagandha works very well by itself or in tandem with many nootropics, but we found it to work best in increasing energy levels with another Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit, with similar balancing effects as the caffeine and L-Theanine combination. Coming from Sanksrit roots, the name Shilajit translates to “conqueror of mountains” and “destroyer of weakness.” The name has apt meaning, because Shilajit is considered a nootropic that drives energy production and facilitates quicker absorption of all nutritional and bioactive substances. This neutraceutical comes from the Himalayan mountains, where it can be found oozing through cracks between the rocks and minerals sitting on the mountains in the summer. In contrast to most other neutraceuticals, Shilajit is not a herb or root that grows from the ground. Millions of years ago when the Indian subcontinent collided with the Asian continent, the tropical forests and other flora were pulverized and compressed between the rising mountains. Over the years as the foliage and fauna deceased and decomposed in the Himalayas, the compressed biomass gained “nutrient and mineral-rich” compounds in the soil, creating the rich biomass resin we know as Shilajit. Unlike caffeine, Shilajit expedites and nurtures the creation of real healthy energy through ATP production (the molecule synthesized in your body that allows for cellular respiration) with two main components: fulvic acid and Dibenzo Alpha Pyrones.
Fulvic acid-rich nootropics have been in heavy demand after its discovery, and for good reason. Fulvic acid is a type of humic acid that acts as a transportation molecule for other bioactive molecules. Fulvic acid and humic acid have microporous structures. Without getting too deep into the nitty gritty of the science, the reason fulvic acid is such a synergistic material to the substances in your body is due to a couple of attributes. Because of the fulvic acid’s microporous structure, it grants it the ability to form complex molecules with traditionally nonpolar solutes and molecules with low bioavailability. This means that the molecules consumed with fulvic acid can become engulfed within the fulvic acid molecules, thereby increasing their solubility and dissolution rates, lending much more efficient absorption of the molecules ingested with the fulvic acid. Molecules are always more bioavailable (meaning the proportion of which is fully absorbed by your body) when they are soluble in aqueous solutions, because this is the ideal way your body is designed to absorb nutrients. Thus, say for example you take a L-Theanine pill supplement of 200 mg. Normally in this powdered form, hypothetically, 60% is absorbed properly. The fulvic acid will not only help you absorb the l-theanine more quickly, but will also maximize the percentage of that l-theanine that is absorbed. This makes Shilajit one of the most efficacious neutraceuticals out there as far as increasing the value of your nootropic stack. I mentioned earlier that Shilajit also aids in creating healthy energy. This is where the other main component of Shilajit- Dibenzo Alpha Pyrones- comes in.
Our bodies produce energy somewhat seamlessly unbeknownst to us. We learned about how our bodies convert fuel into energy through cellular respiration in primary school, which starts with the mitochondria: the powerhouse of the cell. The mitochondria plays an integral part in converting fuel to ATP, the energy our bodies use to stay alive and perform in everyday life. As we age and produce more energy, our mitochondria suffer from oxidative stress damage created from Reactive Oxidation Species or ROS, which are created as a by-product of energy production. Dibenzo Alpha Pyrones is responsible for “helping ubiquinol (CoQ10) concentrate at higher levels in the mitochondria and to recycle its antioxidant capabilities more rapidly.” This translates to aiding the mitochondria more efficiently convert fats and sugars into ATP, which is additional energy. The great thing about this healthy energy, which is the same you would get from food, is that is can be used for physical or mental exertion. As you can see there are many healthy energy alternatives to jointly accomplish gaining sustainable healthy energy and cognitive enhancement.
If we play the same little word association game we played earlier and I make the statement “I need energy,” your answer probably has changed quite a bit after reading this. Or maybe not, and you need to experience these new ingredient combinations first. While caffeine is great for keeping you awake temporarily when consumed alone, it has side effects and does not provide the optimal functionality for cognition or sustained and balanced energy flow. Pure caffeine supplementation will eventually become less effective over time and start to have deleterious side effects as your tolerance grows. Creating a nootropic stack with complimentary balancing effects for negative qualities and synergistically boosting effects for beneficial qualities can create a sustainable source for daily healthy energy and wellbeing. That is why we identified these select neutraceuticals to firstly educate the public on their benefits, and secondly to compose our very own MetaMatcha green tea healthy energy source. With this nootropic stack, we can provide the best sustainable energy for each and every one of you to #ExceedYourPotential.
 “L-Theanine Benefits (Scientific Research).” Mental Health Daily. N.p., 29 July 2015. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.
 “L-Theanine Benefits (Scientific Research).” Mental Health Daily. N.p., 29 July 2015. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.