Published December 2022 on YouTube

Using Caffeine to Optimize Mental & Physical Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast 101

1. Caffeine

Andrew explains how caffeine is not just a stimulant but also a strong reinforcer, reinforcing our liking of particular foods, drinks, containers, and even the company we keep when consuming caffeine. He discusses the positive health benefits of caffeine, including neuroprotective and antidepressive effects, and how to use caffeine to improve mental and physical performance.Show transcript +

2. Hunger Control

Hunger Control:Andrew explains how GLP-1, a molecule found in certain caffeinated beverages, can reduce hunger and control blood sugar levels. He discusses how yerba mate and other teas can stimulate the release of GLP-1, and how GLP-1 analogues can be effective for weight loss and diabetes treatment.+
Yerba Maté & Weight Loss:Andrew explains how yerba maté tea can be an effective weight loss tool by stimulating GLP-1 release, which blunts appetite and triggers thermogenesis. GLP-1 also converts white fat cells into beige and brown fat cells, which makes you more thermogenic and raises your basal metabolic rate.+
GLP-1 for Weight Loss:Andrew explains how GLP-1 can be effective for weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing basal metabolic rate. He suggests drinking yerba maté tea or doing fasted exercise to stimulate GLP-1 release. Prescription GLP-1 analogues are also available for more robust activation.+

3. Health and Eyewear

Health Hacks:Andrew shares his personal experiences with Levels, a program that uses continuous glucose monitoring to track the impact of different foods on blood sugar levels. He also discusses the benefits of Eight Sleep, a mattress cover that allows users to adjust their sleeping environment for optimal temperature and sleep quality.+
Quality Eyewear:Andrew talks about ROKA eyeglasses and sunglasses, designed for performance and aesthetics, and how they understand the biology of the visual system to provide perfect clarity. Use the code "Huberman" at checkout to save 20% off on your first order at

4. Caffeine Benefits

Caffeine Benefits:Andrew discusses the benefits of caffeine, including its ability to increase neuromodulators and have neuroprotective effects. He also mentions that regular caffeine intake is inversely related to levels of depression and may have some antidepressant effects, whether direct or indirect.+
Caffeine Performance:Andrew explains how caffeine can improve mental and physical performance, reducing reaction time and enhancing memory recall. Caffeine works by stimulating neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain, giving neural circuits a lower threshold to activation.+

5. Caffeine's Reinforcing Effects

Caffeine's Reinforcing Effects:Andrew explains how caffeine acts as a powerful reinforcer of experience, not just making us more alert. He distinguishes between conscious rewards and subconscious reinforcers, and discusses how caffeine stimulates the release of chemicals in our body that act as reinforcers.+
Caffeine and Pollinators:Andrew explains how caffeine acts as a reinforcer for bees that consume nectar from flowers. Caffeine is present in low concentrations in most plants and is masked by other flavors. This chapter discusses the powerful effects of caffeine as a reinforcing agent in animals and insects.+
Bee's Caffeine Preference:Andrew explains how bees are attracted to nectar and pollen that contain small amounts of caffeine. The caffeine makes the bees feel more alert and able to do more work, which reinforces their preference for caffeine-containing flavors. This effect is subconscious and not because the bees like the taste of caffeine.+

6. Caffeine's Effects

Andrew explains how caffeine stimulates the release of dopamine and acetylcholine in the forebrain, which increases focus and alertness, and feelings of well-being. He also talks about how caffeine increases the number and efficacy of dopamine receptors in the reward pathways of the brain, making things that would feel pretty good feel even better.+

7. Caffeine as a Reinforcing Agent

Caffeine Reinforcement:Andrew explains how caffeine is a reinforcing agent and how it affects humans and honeybees. He talks about how humans consume caffeine-containing beverages for their own sake, but the reinforcing effects of caffeine are largely subconscious.+
Aversive and Reinforcing Agents:Andrew explains how our nervous system integrates aversive and reinforcing agents into our immediate experience, which can influence our behavior and decision-making. He uses examples of drinking contaminated water and consuming caffeine-containing beverages to illustrate how these agents work in the brain and gut.+
The Power of Caffeine:Andrew explains how caffeine affects our taste preferences and the direct actions of caffeine on our brain, including increasing clarity of thought and reducing feelings of lethargy and fatigue. He also discusses how caffeine increases the release of dopamine and acetylcholine, neuromodulators in the forebrain, which increase our ability to rule switch and understand the rules of engagement.+

8. AG1 (Athletic Greens)

Andrew talks about the importance of gut health and how Athletic Greens provides the optimal and vital probiotics for microbiotic health. He also mentions that Athletic Greens contains adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals that meet all of his foundational nutritional needs. Listeners can visit to get five free travel packs and a year supply of Vitamin D3K2.+

9. Caffeine and Adenosine

Caffeine and Adenosine:Andrew explains how caffeine works in the brain by binding to adenosine receptors, preventing the breakdown of energy production components, and leading to increased cyclic AMP. Adenosine makes us feel tired, and caffeine biases our system towards pro-energetic aspects of cellular pathways.+
Understanding Energy and Adenosine:Andrew explains that there is no way to create more energy in your system, but you can change the timing of the sleepy and energetic signals by blocking adenosine receptors. He also shares the importance of understanding the accumulation of adenosine and how it biases us towards feeling more sleepy.+
Caffeine and Adenosine:Andrew explains how caffeine affects our circadian rhythm by spiking our alertness, allowing us to work during the night. However, the healthiest schedule for our brain and body is to be alert during the day and asleep at night. Adenosine is a non-negotiable aspect of our biology, and the only way to completely clear it out is to get sleep or take a short nap.+

10. Caffeine Dosage & Adaptation

Caffeine Dosage:Andrew explains how to determine a healthy and useful dose of caffeine based on body weight, and how to avoid negative effects such as anxiety.+
Caffeine Dosage:Andrew explains the appropriate dosage of caffeine for mental and physical performance and how to avoid exceeding your tolerance level. He also discusses the range of tolerance for caffeine based on genetics and caffeine adaptation.+
Caffeine Adaptation:Andrew explains the difference between caffeine tolerance and adaptation. He also provides insights on how to determine if you are caffeine-adapted and the importance of knowing the amount of caffeine you consume.+

11. Morning Energy Tips

Caffeine Timing:Andrew recommends delaying caffeine intake to 90-120 minutes after waking up to avoid the afternoon crash and improve the quality of nighttime sleep. This can offset negative effects of caffeine consumption in the afternoon and help people feel more alert in the morning.+
Mastering Morning Energy:Andrew explains how adenosine builds up in our system the longer we are awake and how sleep clears it out. He also shares how spiking cortisol in the morning can clear out adenosine without just blocking its receptors and causing an afternoon crash.+
Morning Routine:Andrew explains the importance of a morning cortisol peak and how to achieve it through exposure to bright light and exercise. He also discusses the negative effects of consuming caffeine too early and suggests delaying it by 90-120 minutes after waking to maximize its benefits.+

12. Caffeine and Exercise

Andrew explains how caffeine affects our body when ingested before or after exercise and recommends a 90-120 minute delay for caffeine intake after waking up. He also suggests drinking half of the caffeine upon waking and the other half an hour later to avoid the afternoon crash.+

13. Caffeine Performance Tips

Caffeine and Theanine:Andrew explains how caffeine works and suggests taking theanine to reduce jitteriness. He also shares his personal caffeine intake routine and how it works best for him.+
Caffeine Performance Tips:Andrew shares tips on how to maximize the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine, including abstaining from caffeine for a few days prior to ingesting it or consuming it on an empty stomach. He also recommends hydrating well with water containing a small pinch of salt or an electrolyte drink to offset the diuretic effects of caffeine.+

14. Theanine: Effects & Dosage

Theanine Effects:Andrew discusses the effects of theanine, a nonprotein amino acid found in green tea and as a supplement, on the glutamate and glutamine pathway in the nervous system. Theanine competes for receptors for excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate, which affects daily thinking, action, and feeling.+
Theanine and Caffeine:Andrew explains how theanine can reduce the jitteriness and anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine. He also discusses the positive effects of theanine on reducing depression and anxiety, improving endothelial cell function, and enhancing the quality, depth, and duration of sleep.+

15. InsideTracker

Andrew discusses the importance of getting regular blood work done and introduces InsideTracker, a personalized nutrition platform that analyzes data from your blood and DNA to help you better understand your body and reach your health goals. He explains how InsideTracker makes it easy to understand what nutritional and behavioral interventions you can take to adjust metabolic factors, hormones, and lipids to bring them into optimal ranges.+

16. Caffeine Myths and Effects

Caffeine Myths:Andrew debunks some common myths around caffeine, such as its relationship with osteoporosis. He explains that caffeine does not create or exacerbate osteoporosis, provided people are getting enough calcium through their diet. Additionally, he discusses how caffeine intake does not consistently increase or reduce testosterone or estrogen levels in men or women.+
Caffeine's Effects:Andrew discusses the relationship between caffeine intake and sex hormone binding globulin, which can slightly reduce overall levels of free testosterone and free estradiol in women. However, the effects are not significant enough to be a concern at the dosages of caffeine discussed. In fact, caffeine has been shown to have positive effects on mental performance, physical performance, energy, and overall levels of mood and mental health.+

17. Afternoon Caffeine & Sleep

Andrew emphasizes the importance of quality sleep for mental and physical health. He suggests limiting caffeine intake 8-12 hours prior to sleep, as caffeine can disrupt slow-wave sleep, which is essential for growth hormone release and immune system function.+

18. Caffeine Performance Boost

Caffeine and Performance:Andrew discusses the positive effects of caffeine on mental and physical performance, including improved reaction time, coordination, memory, and overall feelings of well-being during exercise. However, he emphasizes the importance of taking caffeine correctly and the challenges of finding controls for studies involving regular caffeine users.+
Caffeine's Performance-Boosting Benefits:Andrew explains how caffeine can improve alertness and mood, especially when consumed shortly after the cortisol peak in the morning. He shares insights from a study that shows how daily caffeine users can still benefit from stacking caffeine on the tail of the early cortisol peak.+
Caffeine Performance Boost:Andrew explains how abstaining from caffeine for five days can greatly enhance the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine when taken on the sixth day. He also discusses the benefits of reducing caffeine intake to identify its effects on daily functioning and mood.+
Caffeine's Physical Effects:Andrew discusses a study on the effects of caffeine on physical performance. The study shows that abstaining from caffeine for a period of time and then reintroducing it can enhance physical performance. However, regular caffeine intake still has performance-enhancing effects, but not as robust as those who abstained.+
Caffeine and Performance:Andrew explains the effects of caffeine on mental and physical performance and recommends reducing caffeine intake or abstaining for a brief period before a challenge to enhance its effects. He also warns against ingesting caffeine if you're not accustomed to it, as it can have detrimental effects on performance.+

19. Caffeine and Menstrual Cycle

Andrew discusses the effects of caffeine on physical performance during different phases of the menstrual cycle. Studies show that caffeine increases peak aerobic cycling power in all three phases of the menstrual cycle, making it an effective ergogenic aid for women.+

20. Memory Enhancement

Enhancing Memory:Andrew discusses how ingesting caffeine prior to a learning task can enhance mental performance. He also explains how spiking adrenaline after learning can greatly increase memory retention. This practice dates back centuries and was used to teach children information.+
Enhancing Memory with Caffeine:Andrew explains how caffeine can enhance memory retention when ingested after learning, due to the spike in catecholamines it produces. He recommends abstaining from caffeine before learning and then ingesting it afterward. The effects can be further enhanced by combining caffeine with cold exposure or exercise.+

21. Caffeine & Naps

Andrew Huberman explains why ingesting caffeine in the late afternoon, especially for napping, is not the best way to enhance performance. Instead, he suggests restricting caffeine intake to the early part of the day and using non-sleep deep rest protocols (NSDR) for mood, focus, and alertness.+

22. Caffeine and Exercise

Andrew explains how ingesting caffeine prior to exercise can enhance performance and increase dopamine release associated with exercise specifically. This has two important effects: it provides a long-lasting increase in focus, alertness, and motivation, and it acts as a reinforcer to make the experience of exercise and the period immediate after exercise more pleasant and, in fact, reinforcing.+

23. Dopamine Stacking

Andrew discusses the concept of dopamine stacking and how it relates to combining caffeine and exercise. While caffeine can increase dopamine after exercise, dopamine stacking can lead to a drop in dopamine below baseline. He recommends being cautious and paying attention to how you feel after the dopamine increase wears off.+

24. Caffeine Schedule

Andrew discusses the benefits of an every-other-day caffeine schedule to maximize performance-enhancing effects without suffering from withdrawal symptoms. He suggests consuming caffeine only on resistance training days for best results.+

25. Pro-Health Effects of Caffeine

Andrew explains the neuroprotective effects of caffeine and how it can offset the probability of developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's-related dementia. He also discusses how caffeine can improve focus and alertness, particularly in people with symptoms of ADHD or other attention and focus issues.+

26. Caffeine's Reinforcing Effects

Caffeine's Reinforcing Effects:Andrew discusses how caffeine can be used as a tool to increase reinforcement of different things, including food and exercise. He also talks about how caffeine's neurochemical-reinforcing effects can be leveraged and avoided to reinforce or stop certain behaviors.+
Caffeine's Fascinating Effects:Andrew discusses the effects of caffeine on sugar cravings and how it can be leveraged to meet physical and mental health goals. He explains how caffeine enhances focus, alertness, mood, and memory, and how it can increase peak power output and muscle contractability. He also talks about using caffeine as a reinforcer for foods, people, and experiences.+

27. Supporting the Huberman Lab

Andrew shares ways to support the Huberman Lab podcast, including subscribing to their YouTube channel and podcast, leaving a review, checking out their sponsors, and following them on social media. He also discusses the benefits of supplements and directs listeners to a partner website for high-quality options.+