Time to Recover From Daily Caffeine Intake

Yu Shiuan Lin, Janine Weibel, Hans Peter Landolt, Francesco Santini, Corrado Garbazza, Joshua Kistler, Sophia Rehm, Katharina Rentsch, Stefan Borgwardt, Christian Cajochen*, Carolin F. Reichert

*Corresponding author for this work


Caffeine elicits widespread effects in the central nervous system and is the most frequently consumed psychostimulant worldwide. First evidence indicates that, during daily intake, the elimination of caffeine may slow down, and the primary metabolite, paraxanthine, may accumulate. The neural impact of such adaptions is virtually unexplored. In this report, we leveraged the data of a laboratory study with N = 20 participants and three within-subject conditions: caffeine (150 mg caffeine × 3/day × 10 days), placebo (150 mg mannitol × 3/day × 10 days), and acute caffeine deprivation (caffeine × 9 days, afterward placebo × 1 day). On day 10, we determined the course of salivary caffeine and paraxanthine using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. We assessed gray matter (GM) intensity and cerebral blood flow (CBF) after acute caffeine deprivation as compared to changes in the caffeine condition from our previous report. The results indicated that levels of paraxanthine and caffeine remained high and were carried overnight during daily intake, and that the levels of paraxanthine remained elevated after 24 h of caffeine deprivation compared to placebo. After 36 h of caffeine deprivation, the previously reported caffeine-induced GM reduction was partially mitigated, while CBF was elevated compared to placebo. Our findings unveil that conventional daily caffeine intake does not provide sufficient time to clear up psychoactive compounds and restore cerebral responses, even after 36 h of abstinence. They also suggest investigating the consequences of a paraxanthine accumulation during daily caffeine intake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number787225
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Pages (from-to)787225
Publication statusPublished - 02.02.2022


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