Are Caffeine Pills Safe? And Is It Better Than Coffee?

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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Caffeine is widely recognized as a commonly used stimulant, with many unaware of its addictive potential.

However, it offers several benefits, including alleviating morning grogginess, aiding weight management, and enhancing focus in various settings.

This raises an important question: are caffeine pills, as an alternative to coffee, a viable and safe option?

We'll explore this topic in-depth.

Quick Summary

  • Caffeine pills are a safe and convenient alternative to coffee, offering a tasteless, easy-to-dose form of caffeine that enhances concentration and has thermogenic effects.
  • Caffeine pills provide a no-taste, convenient option that's easier on the stomach and free from harmful substances found in coffee, appealing especially to those who dislike coffee's taste or suffer from its acidic effects.
  • According to the Physiology and Pharmacology of Temperature Regulation, caffeine pills not only stimulate the central nervous system but also have thermogenic effects, enhancing metabolic processes.
  • In my opinion, caffeine pills are a practical choice for controlled, efficient energy boosts, especially during intense training or competition preparation.

What Are Caffeine Pills?

caffeine pills

Caffeine pills are over-the-counter drugs that contain a small dose of pure caffeine.

The drug contained in caffeine pills can cause stimulation of the central nervous system, but may also provide some thermogenic effects as well, according to the Physiology and Pharmacology of Temperature Regulation [1].

These types of caffeine products are generally safe to take in moderate dosage.

Some of these products are based on natural plant extracts, while others may synthetically create the chemical structure of caffeine.

Caffeine pills might also be a better way to keep an exact total of your intake to avoid a caffeine overdose. If you want some recommendations, see our article on the best caffeine pills on the market.

The dosage of a caffeine pill ranges from 100 to 200 mg of caffeine per pill, which is about the same amount of caffeine per serving as a cup of coffee.

Most people shouldn’t have any problems with that kind of caffeine dosage, but it would still be advised not to take more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. High doses of caffeine may cause adverse effects, which I talked about in detail below.

Caffeine pills are often used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to their ability to enhance exercise performance, by increasing endurance and reducing perceived exertion during physical activity.

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Caffeine Pills vs Coffee

Here are four main reasons why consuming a caffeine pill may be a better option.

There’s No Taste

As an MMA fighter, I prefer caffeine pills for their lack of taste, especially when preparing for a fight and needing to stay focused on training without distractions.

Now, you could spend a fortune on one of those fancy flavored coffees at Starbucks. But after a couple of them, you’d have a box of caffeine pills paid for.

Fast And Convenient

This is both a positive and negative factor of caffeine pills.

If you’re on the go a lot and don’t want to stop for a coffee, then taking a caffeine pill might be a lot more convenient. But it’s also a lot easier to end up taking too many resulting in some jitters.

Easier On The Stomach

If you’ve ever drunk too much coffee, you may have noticed that it might make your stomach feel a bit upset.

The reason for this is that drinking coffee and too much caffeine may increase the acidity in your stomach, which some people find may cause heartburn.

Avoid Other Harmful Substances

Coffee may also contain certain oils, which some studies have been able to link to increases in bad cholesterol, according to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences [2]. These oils may be avoided by switching to a pill form.

If you want to read more about this, check out our "Caffeine pills vs Coffee" article.

Benefits Of Taking Caffeine Pills

Taking a pill

Caffeine pills are easy to take, and I mentioned above that they avoid some harmful oils in coffee.

Caffeine pills are often used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to their ability to enhance exercise performance, by increasing endurance and reducing perceived exertion during physical activity.

As an MMA fighter, I've experienced firsthand how caffeine pills boost my endurance and lower my exertion perception during intense training sessions.

But there may also be a few other benefits of this type of caffeine to take into account:

One thing to keep in mind is that the human body will only react to a certain amount of caffeine. Once you exceed about 400mg, then the benefits may go down with some side effects appearing.

More on this next...

 

Risks And Side Effects Of Caffeine

side effects of caffeine ie high blood pressure, heartburn

The benefits of caffeine for the central nervous system may quickly turn into a not so pleasant experience. Make sure you look out for some of these caffeine side effects, even if you use caffeine pills sparingly.

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Jitters
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn and stomach cramps
  • Feeling dizzy

These effects of caffeine such as high blood pressure will gradually wear off in the majority of cases. But caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours, which means you may need to endure these health effects for a while before they fully disappear.

Regular use of caffeine pills can lead to tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects, and may also lead to dependence or withdrawal symptoms, highlighting the importance of moderate consumption.

In my career as an MMA fighter, I've seen peers develop a tolerance to caffeine pills, needing more to get the same energy boost, a situation we try to manage carefully.

Symptoms Of A Caffeine Overdose

caffeine overdose

Taking too much caffeine can cause serious health effects that you have to avoid. Such a high caffeine intake may be more associated with caffeine powder and could include symptoms like:

  • Very fast and erratic heart rate
  • Seizures and fits
  • Fainting
  • Severe vomiting

During my MMA training, I learned the hard way that too much caffeine can lead to a rapid and erratic heartbeat, making it clear why moderation is crucial.

Some less severe symptoms of too much coffee consumption may include:

  • Restless behavior
  • Muscle tremors and jitters
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe headaches

In both cases, it’s important to stop any form of caffeine consumption immediately and to seek out medical advice to avoid any lasting health risks and withdrawal symptoms. Take note of any side effects of too much caffeine to keep your body from any adverse reactions.

In case of minor caffeine ingestion which may cause muscle soreness and palpitations, it's best to rehydrate immediately and consult

FAQs

Are Caffeine Pills Effective?

Yes, caffeine pills are effective, and this type of caffeine may be a safer option for some people to use. Compared to coffee, caffeine is generally less harmful. Coffee contains some harmful substances that might increase cholesterol levels and cause some stomach issues as well.

Take not that both coffee and caffeine, when taken in high doses, may cause adverse reactions.

Do Caffeine Pills Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, caffeine pills may help you lose weight. A certain dose of caffeine may work as a thermogenic, which means it might increase your core body temperature. By doing this, your metabolism sources energy from stored body fat, which has been found to help with weight management.

Is It Okay to Take Caffeine Pills Every Day?

Yes, it’s okay to take these kinds of pills every day. Generally, caffeine is safe to consume on a regular basis. But it’s important to carefully track how many you consume and how much time you allow to pass in between each dose.

Also, don’t forget to keep track of your coffee intake and energy drinks that might contain caffeine.

Are Caffeine Pills Like Adderall?

No, caffeine is not like Adderall, even though it may have similar results on the brain. Adderall is a much more potent drug that has also been found to have some more severe long-term psychological impacts.

“All central nervous stimulants such as these come with risks, but in comparison to Adderall, caffeine pills are healthier and safer for consumption.”

- Samantha Park, Writer and Editor at Hercampus.com


References:

  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpregu.00832.2005
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6747192/#:~:text=In%20humans%2C%20cafestol%20appears%20to,by%200.02%20mmol%20L%E2%88%921.
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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