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The 4 Secrets of Getting Wired on Caffeine

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It’s no secret that Bulletproof Coffee is one of the best ways you can supercharge your brain function.  Every day, more and more people are improving their cognitive performance thanks to Bulletproof Coffee.

Check out what others are saying about Bulletproof Coffee!

“Brew, blend, drink!  OMG! it’s like coffee on steroids that tastes like heaven!” ~ Vertun2002

“Upgraded Coffee has arrived! Love this stuff!” ~Shannon Ford, Mrs. USA

“Doing a weigh-in & realizing that I’ve lost 10 lbs over the last few weeks with the help of yummy Bulletproof Coffee and IF. :) ”  ~Katie Brown

However, Bulletproof Coffee isn’t the end of the road when it comes to using caffeine to boost your brainpower.  Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, but there are four tricks you need to use to get the most benefit from your Bulletproof Coffee.

1. Take small, frequent doses.

According to a Lifehacker.com interview with neuroscientist Chris Chatham, small, regular doses of caffeine are better for improving mental performance than large doses.  As someone who used to drown himself in 64 ounces of coffee before computer science class every morning, this is powerful information.  Chatham says the optimal dose of caffeine for mental performance is probably around 20-200 mg/hour.  An average cup of filtered coffee has about 100-150 mg of caffeine, so one cup per hour is a good starting point.

There is only so much caffeine that your brain can deal with at any one time.  If you drink too much too soon, much of it will go to waste.  If you take smaller, more frequent doses, you can get the full benefit from each speck of caffeine that goes into your body.

2. Use caffeine for quantity, not quality.

You have to be selective about what you do when you’re wired on caffeine.  Caffeine doesn’t improve performance across the board.  It helps you perform tasks that you’re already good at faster, but it doesn’t help you perform better on many complex tasks.

In general, caffeine helps you work faster, but not better.  If you’re trying to get the most out of your caffeine buzz, do tedious work that doesn’t require the most cognitive effort, like data entry or answering emails.  You’ll get the job done faster, but you may sacrifice a small amount of quality for quantity, which is fine in some cases.

My experience is that I’m a much better writer and produce my best content on strong black or Bulletproof coffee.

3. Dial in your optimal dose.

Everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine.  For some people it makes almost no difference, while others get amped on the smallest amounts.  Your individual caffeine tolerance depends on your diet, lifestyle, and genetics.  As is often the case here on the Bulletproof Executive, the only real solution is to test it on yourself.  Experiment with different amounts of caffeine, consuming it at different times throughout the morning, and at different intervals.  Post your findings in the comments, we’d love to hear what you find.

4. Help caffeine do its job with grapefruit, sugar, and fat.

I’ve written about the problems of consuming too much grapefruit before, but as long as you don’t eat too much or do it daily, it can help increase the effectiveness of caffeine.  Tim Ferriss talked about this a little in his 4-Hour Body book, but the summary is that grapefruit has a compound called narangin that helps slow the clearance of caffeine (and toxins) from your system.  If you eat a small piece of grapefruit in the morning with your coffee, or take some grapefruit seed extract, you can make the caffeine stay in your bloodstream for longer than it otherwise would.  If you’re taking medications, before you try the grapefruit trick, make sure your meds aren’t contraindicated with grapefruit.

Sugar is bad for you if you eat too much, but a teaspoon in your morning coffee isn’t going to kill you (even if it does ruin your Bulletproof Intermittent Fast).  In fact, small amounts of sugar can increase your performance on a test if taken right beforehand, because your brain soaks up the sugar and uses it for fuel (glucose).  Sugar also helps the absorption of caffeine, but not as much as fat.

One of the reasons Bulletproof Coffee has such a strong effect on brain function is the fat.  Besides the high nutrient density and cognitive boosting effects of grass-fed butter and MCT oil, these fats also increase the absorption of caffeine.  When you drink coffee mixed with healthy fat (aka Bulletproof Coffee), you’re getting a much stronger effect than if you were to have either one by itself. It’s even better if the coffee is brewed without a paper filter.

Most businesspeople fuel themselves with caffeine, but not everyone does it right.  Most use high-toxin coffee that does more harm than good.  Even if you’re using a high quality mold-free coffee, you can still do better.

Drinking coffee in small, frequent doses helps maximize the absorption and potency of caffeine.  If you schedule your day so you’re most caffeinated when doing your most mundane tasks, you can get them done faster.

Everyone has a different tolerance for caffeine, so you’ll need to experiment to find your optimal dosing schedule.  And last but not least, you can use grapefruit, sugar, and grass-fed fat to help speed the absorption of caffeine.

How will you use caffeine to get wired?

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  • Adam Fiddler

    Hey Dave,

    Cool article, thanks for all the info. I’m wondering what your preferred source of sugar is for this?

    -Adam

    • Ash

      I’m almost sure he’d advise raw honey. Same protocol as before sleep.

      • Michael A

        I’m relatively certain coffee is hot enough to turn raw honey into cooked honey so raw honey may just be expensive fructose. I think he did suggest dextrose.

    • http://forum.bulletproofexec.com/index.php?/user/2322-stu-uk/ Stu UK

      I recall in one of the early podcasts, I believe it to be the #1 – Biohacking 101 with Andrew Clark, he talks about how they added dextrose to the BP coffee for brain power while Andrew was studying for an exam. Im 99% sure it was plain dextrose, but I could be wrong

  • Stu_UK

    I have been a heavy coffee drinker for years, and usually can drink it all day with no problems sleeping.

    However over the last 3 days I have been trying the Bulletproof Coffee with 80 grams of butter and holy mother of god! ive never felt so wired on coffee like this.

    Ive had to reduce the amount of coffee I use because I find it too much of a buzz. Scrambled thoughts etc.

    So as you say in the article, it must be the fats. But I wouldn’t have expected it to have such a synergistic effect

  • Zack_Leman

    How frequently and for how long should we take caffeine breaks to reset the tolerance and max out caffeine’s effectiveness?

    • LowBuzz

      I’m curious about this too Dave. I’d also be curious if you could share your thoughts on how best to go about doing the break / re-sensitizing protocol.

      I found that the Bulletproof Coffee wasn’t having as large as an effect on me after drinking it for about 5 months and my brain was getting real funky from about 11 AM on. My total caffeine intake during the period was about 2 cups of bulletproof coffee in the morning and (later on) sometimes a cup or two of loose leaf Dragonwell green tea in the early afternoon.

      I decided to cut all caffeine cold-turkey for two weeks and I was strongly miserable, tired, mildly depressed, and often useless at work and at home… even while getting plenty of high quality sleep (verfied by Zeo.) It didn’t seem to get much better even after two weeks, so I’m back on the Bulletproof Coffee. My break might have helped a bit but I’m nowhere feeling the benefits like when I first started.

      Any ideas on how to re-sensitize quickly, most effectively and with reduced symptoms as I described above? That would be helpful. (I did try experimenting with Modafinil and/or with a bit of L-Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine but had limited success with that… perhaps because of neurotransmitter receptor down-regulation? *shrug*)

      While it seems the need for this varies from person to person just as caffeine sensitivity seems to vary from person to person; I’m sure that anything you can think of or share in this regard would be appreciated by the less fortunate types such as myself.

      Thanks!

      • Ben Irvine

        I’m struggling with this too. I’ve always had a very low tolerance for caffeine that rises rapidly with continued use. After around 2 weeks of daily coffee use it just makes me feel normal and I end up with a fatigued feeling that comes back 3-4 hours after every coffee.

        My current solution is to take modafinil or rhodiola to counter the fatigue while taking breaks from the coffee to reduce my dependence.

      • Elenor

        Sounds adrenal to me! Go read up on the website Stop the Thyroid Madness — I’m not associated with Janie, except that my health was saved by the info there!

      • Ryan

        Caffeine can deplete magnesium, which can absolutely cause the symptoms you speak of.

    • Matthew Mathis

      I have had this question for a while. I have read all through the website, but have never found an answer. Did anyone find out if we should be taking a break from caffeine on the BP protocol?

      • Anirudh Vyas

        taking a break helps – best is recycling the source of caffeine – for example – if you normally rely on starbucks doubleshot, after a week for a few days – take AMP or something else like Red Bull – or any “other” preference. That’ll help make it more effective in long run.

        Eventually you’d hit a point where you’d wanna refresh – at that point go cold turkey for a day (you’d need 48 hours or so to start getting severe headaches (believe me 24 hours break is fine) – next morning after good night sleep – start again – this time with a lower dosage – Then recycle and continue to up the dosage… the cycle can go on forever.

        Taking cold turkey or even mild break for a week (very hard for a lot of people) can aid in milking the best out of caffeine later…

  • http://www.facebook.com/hattersleylisa Lisa Marie

    Thanks Dave, brilliant timing with this info, just what ive been looking for to share over here in UK ahead of buying some bulk Upgraded coffee.

  • Brian Cockburn

    Nice stuff! Do you know if physical activity before or after caffeine consumption would affect a person’s need or tolerance for caffeine throughout the day? I ask because I cycle to and from work every day. It’s a 30min ride each way, about 10.5km. I usually have a cup (12-16oz) of coffee before I leave and often feel like a need another one shortly after getting to work. I realize many other factors could be involved but I’m curious to know how my morning bike ride might affect things. Thanks!

  • ReneeAnn

    Great tips! Thanks for the article!

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  • RyGuy

    I’m just having a hard time believing that eating 3/4 a stick of butter in the morning then basically eating as much as you want after 2:00 (ie: Lunch) can possibly be good for you. But whatever, I tried it this morning. Heard about it on the Joe Rogan Podcast.

    EDIT: I’m Talking about the fasting. The coffees delicious though and I’ve felt full all day, but a little oily, like I just at 3/4 a stick of butter

    • Glen

      You could experiment with reducing the amount of butter and substituting MCT or coconut oil if you are opposed to the butter. MCT/coconut oil is metabolized differently.

    • RyGuy

      Tried it again today with 3 table spoons of butter, again felt full all day but I almost felt like I can feel arteries clogging and oily still, then ate a 1800 calorie lunch-diner. Got a head rush standing up but I also might not have been fully hydrated. I’ll try this for a week and see if anything changes. Feel good all day right up to about 2-3 then I’m in a complete fog and need food and coffee to keep going.

      I’ll find a different place to keep notes on how this is working for now on hahah.

      Oh one thing, how many days a week is it okay to fast for? I’m not fat at 5’11 155 but got a little flab that I’d like to go away.

      • http://forum.bulletproofexec.com/index.php?/user/2322-stu-uk/ Stu UK

        Hi mate, try having more butter in the morning. I am now up to 200g of butter in the morning and that completly wipes out my hunger. At 2pm I am still not hungry, but force myself to have something. Usually sushi or salad with beef.

        I know what you mean about the oily feeling. I’m sure I can smell butter on me. Ive aksed my girlfriend and she says she cant smell it. But then again, shes nice and would say thatt to make me feel better :)

        • Fart in the Wind

          “200g” of butter? As in 200 grams of butter? Not the most efficient suicide method, but it’ll work.

        • James

          Tru dat. A fifth kilo of butter hahaha. 1800 kcals of butter should keep you full to lunchtime!

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Interesting. So, the fat helps the positive effects of coffee. Never knew that. Will apply. Thanks Dave!

  • driver mark

    Thanks Dave the coffee butter mct oil is working great your on to someting here and good job on roagans pod cast.

  • Jim

    Dave, I love your coffee, but I am starting to roast my own green coffee beans at home. Do you have a recommendation for a quality organic green coffee bean distributor and source? Thanks, Jim
    PS – I miss the regular podcast on iTunes!

  • Spencer

    Dave, What if someone is a Fast metabolizer of caffeine?

  • Justin Newman

    Any thoughts on the best way to brew for a single person? You mentioned its better without a paper filter. Are you recommending french press? I tried the refillable keurig cup, and the coffee came out watery and disgusting. I’d rather not use my 12 cup coffee maker since i’m the only coffee drinker and i’m caffeine sensitive so I only drink one cup. I have to buy something, but the question is what? Thanks for any advice.

    • Dave Asprey

      Simplest is a water kettle with temp controls. Set it to 195, pour water over grounds, stir once, let sit for 4 minutes, grounds will drop to bottom, pour coffee through a cup size metal filter.
      Sent from my nobile phone. You understand….

      • errantNite

        a nobile phone? is that a nubile mobile phone? or one that only make free calls so you get no bill?

  • arianna

    thank-you I am very, very sensitive to caffeine, but using it carefully
    per your instructions it works perfectly!

  • Mike8

    Is it wrong if I enjoy my cup of coffee black and once it’s finished I blend some butter, mct oil in a little water and chug it down?

  • Michael A

    Hey Dave, thanks once again for the awesome blog! I just have a question – when I make BP coffee with 2tbsp KG butter and 2tbsp coconut oil I get a decent, smooth energy boost.When I do BP coffee with 2tbsp KG and 2tbsp MCT or even 1tbsp MCT, I get a crazy amount of energy and I even get palpitations (I am young so it is particularly odd).

    This confuses me because coconut oil is 60% MCT oil so 2tbsp coconut oil has more MCTs than 1tbsp MCT oil. Any idea what gives? The energy effect is consistent and extremely strong (stronger than Modafinil).

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  • AUSSIE

    hey dave just wondering what this means in regard to having a bulletproof coffee in the morning ? since a bulletproof coffee is around 500m i was just curious if you recommend having it all at once or splitting over a few hours life this article states. also do you ever have off days form your coffee ? or ever cycle off caffeine (coffee)? i have had a bulletproof coffee everday for the last 6 months so was just curious.
    thanks alot for your work

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.walton.7524 Chris Walton

    I recently watched Dave’s interview at London Real TV. He mentioned its better to have a metal coffee filter. I have been a non coffee drinker and am now going to try the Bulletproof coffee. Can anyone enlighten me on the metal filter and what to buy?

    Many thanks

    Chris

    • Elenor

      I just started using the Hamilton Beach “Scoop” — comes with two metal filter/cups and makes really excellent coffee! Well,once you figure out your proportions — as many people have complained– the first couple of tries come out dirty water, with barely any coffee flavor! I’m ex-Navy — I believe a good cuppa coffee should ‘bite the bowl off the spoon’ — and this coffee maker actually lets me make it that way! Waiting on my first order of Bulletproof coffee to try replacing the plain-old store stuff!

  • NRGizer Bunny

    I just placed an order for BP coffee for my hubby, but I detest the smell and taste of coffee. (Also, I’m ADHD emphasis on the hyper and extremely caffeine sensitive) Is there any type of tea that can be substituted for coffee beans that might offer a similar effect. I already have/use MCT/coconut oils, and grass fed butter in my kitchen so they are on hand to add to coffee and/or tea. Thanks!

  • deborah

    My question was not answered..if you use 2 tblsp. of coffee per 8 ozs. of water does this make the coffee higher in caffeine ???

    • Josh Bobb

      Yes. More coffee added = more caffeine. I started with 2T / 8oz’s, but have since reduced to 1T / 8oz because it was too much caffeine for me.

  • Sheila

    If a person already has sleep issues, why in the hell would they drink coffee?????

    • Andrew King

      when you reach a certain level of exhaustion, you are unable to recharge properly. Sometimes i’m so tired, i don’t “rest”, i found that taking an excedrin migrain dose of 1 pill, gives me enough caffeine to actually rest properly and i feel better in the morning.

  • Derek Lauber

    When I’m properly caffeinated, I can crush non-complex tasks. Too much coffee and my brain starts misfiring. I drink 4 oz of half caf/decaf and eat 1 piece of super sold whole grain organic toast with coconut oil, almond butter and banana. I’ve found that my energy, from even my reduced caffeine, lasts a lot longer in the morning when I eat this breakfast then when I don’t . Now I know why. So if you don’t like mixing oil and fat in your coffee, eat coconut/ butter fat on your toast, bagel, etc… along with your coffee.

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