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Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Tasks

By Dr. Ramon Velazquez Ph.D. | |

Caffeine feels good but does it enhance cognition?

Rarely, if ever, do we hear anyone say: “I need to increase my caffeine intake.”

Instead, we almost always we instead hear: “I need to cut back on caffeine.”

However, the feel-good advantages of caffeine are undeniable.

And, if taken correctly, caffeine may not only feel good but it may actually improve brain health and function.

"Correctly" being the important word here.

But what does it mean to “take caffeine correctly”? - i.e., the nootropic way?

That's exactly what we'll tell you in this article. 

We'll also explain how best to take caffeine to maximize its nootropic benefits, as well as the effects of caffeine on cognitive tasks that you may expect when taking caffeine the nootropic way.

The Beginner’s Guide on Caffeine

As the world’s favorite stimulant, caffeine doesn’t need much of an introduction. However, the concept of “caffeine as a cognitive enhancer” does.

Not everyone views caffeine as a legitimate nootropic, and in many ways it isn’t.

But this doesn’t mean that caffeine doesn’t enhance cognition or doesn’t have any nootropic potential.

So, to begin this article, let’s start by addressing the key question:

Is Caffeine a Cognitive Enhancer?

Certainly, the primary function of caffeine is to enhance cognition by directly and indirectly stimulating, or “arousing,” the central nervous system (CNS).[1]

But, in terms of productive cognition enhancement, the function of caffeine is less certain.

Because caffeine offers such a cheap and easy source of feel-good energy, it’s easy to overdo it on caffeine. Resulting in an excessive amount of stimulant energy to the point of cognitive impairment.

Key Point: A modest amount of caffeine may go a long way in terms of enhanced cognition, but a lot of caffeine threatens to derail your train of thought.

So, perhaps it’s fair to say that caffeine is a conditional cognitive enhancer.

As compared to, say, natural nootropics, which are fundamentally defined by their role in healthy cognition enhancement.

Natural Nootropics vs. Synthetic Stimulants

In a way, caffeine straddles the line between nootropic vs. stimulant.

  • Caffeine is a naturally derived substance, yet its primary function is to stimulate the CNS.
  • Whereas natural nootropics promote cognition and brain health, stimulants promote cognition at the cost of brain health.

But unlike the more powerful, prescription-based stimulants currently circulating the halls of academic and highly competitive workplaces, caffeine’s risk of abuse is relatively low.

So much so that we may actively control how we use caffeine in such a way that not only promotes short-term cognitive performance, but also long-term brain health.

For this, though, you'll need to know how to use caffeine the 'right' way...

coffee beans with the caffeine formula showing the effects of caffeine on cognitive tasks

How to Use Caffeine the Nootropic Way

With many supplements supplying upwards of 300+ mg of caffeine per serving, the opportunities for taking too much caffeine are plentiful.

With that in mind, the best way to use caffeine involves:

  • Moderate Dosages: scalable servings of ~50mg are best;
  • Nootropic Enhancement: stack caffeine with certain nootropics (listed below) that help take off the stimulant’s “edgy” side effects;
  • Early in the Day: research suggests late-afternoon caffeine lacks the performance enhancing benefits of early-morning caffeine intake.[2]

Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Tasks

A moderate amount of caffeine stacked with nootropics taken early in the day is the best way to go about supplementing caffeine for optimal productivity.

However, research has found standalone caffeine to be effective at improving the following cognitive measures:

Caffeine and Attention

One of the arguments against caffeine’s cognitive enhancing effects is the belief that caffeine’s improvements are merely the relief of caffeine withdrawal.

By administering and analyzing the effects of caffeine on both withdrawn and non-withdrawn caffeine consumers, a study from 2013 observed that short-term withdrawal had no effect on performance measures and that: 

“ingestion of caffeine was associated with faster simple reaction time, fewer long responses, greater detection of targets in the cognitive vigilance task, and faster encoding of new information.”[3]

Caffeine and Mood

In a comparison study between caffeine and quercetin, two adenosine receptor antagonists, researchers administered either quercetin, caffeine, or placebo to fifty-seven volunteers.

An hour after administration, subjected the volunteers to visual vigilance tasks and the Profile of Mood States questionnaire. The results:

“Caffeine increased self-reported vigor and reduced fatigue and total mood disturbance Profile of Mood States scores compared with placebo. […] Caffeine (200 mg) administration resulted in the expected effects on vigilance and mood.”[4]

Caffeine and Memory

Interestingly, there are several studies linking caffeine to improvements to certain types of memory.

Of particular importance to students, one study tested post-study (i.e., after studying) caffeine’s effect on memory consolidation using a behavioral discrimination task.

The researchers found caffeine significantly improved memory performance 24 hours after administration, leading them to the conclusion that: 

“caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”[5]

Stack Caffeine with Mind Lab Pro® L-Theanine

The best nootropic to stack with caffeine is L-theanine, the anxiolytic amino acid sourced from Camellia sinensis (green tea) and that partly gives green tea its relaxing effects.

Complementing the stimulatory effects of caffeine, L-theanine’s cognitively calming bio-activities reduce caffeine’s jittery side effects while sustaining its focus and energy boosting benefits.

Caffeine + L-Theanine Case Study

One study on the effects of caffeine (40 mg) + L-theanine (97 mg) on cognitive performance, alertness, blood pressure, and heart rate observed significant improvements on accuracy during task switching and self-reported alertness and self-reported tiredness.

The results suggest that “97 mg of L-theanine in combination with 40 mg of caffeine helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task.”[6]

More on Mind Lab Pro® L-Theanine here.

Other Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics to Stack with Caffeine

  • L-Tyrosine

A pro-catecholamine amino acid, L-tyrosine helps counteract the brain-draining disadvantages of caffeine by replenishing neurotransmitter catecholamine levels (dopamine, norepinephrine) lost to caffeine’s stimulatory effects.

More on Mind Lab Pro® L-Tyrosine here.

  • Rhodiola Rosea

One of the most powerful herbal adaptogens, Rhodiola rosea is a natural nootropic that may help reduce the stress-related side effects of caffeine by co-regulating the secretion of stress hormone cortisol.

More on Mind Lab Pro® Rhodiola Rosea here.

  • Citicoline (CDP Choline)

This powerhouse nootropic’s duel combination of choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, and cytidine, a precursor to uridine, helps with cellular brain energy production and synaptic plasticity, complementing caffeine’s short-term brain boosts with long-lasting energy enhancement.

More on Mind Lab Pro® Citicoline here.

  • Phosphatidylserine (PS)

An essential phospholipid that maintains brain cell membrane integrity and fluidity, PS naturally improves cell-to-cell communication and cognitive longevity, ensuring greater connectivity within and around the brain’s neural network.

More on Mind Lab Pro® Phosphatidylserine here.

  • B-Vitamin Complex

B-vitamins help counteract the caffeine crash in two ways:

(1) B-vitamins co-facilitate the synthesis of mood-related brain chemicals, and

(2) B-vitamin supplementation helps replenish the body’s B-vitamin levels lost to caffeine’s diuretic effect.

More on Mind Lab Pro® B-Vitamins here.

Best Caffeine Pill for Cognition: Performance Lab® Stim

A bottle of Performance Lab Stim

More than a mere stimulant, Performance Lab® Stim combines caffeine with nootropic vitamins and aminos to craft the ultimate Caffeine 2.0 pill.

It stacks a modest 50mg caffeine with a potent, bio-enhanced mix of L-theanine (as Suntheanine®), L-tyrosine (as Ajipure®), and NutriGenesis® B-vitamins (B2, B6, B9, and B12).

Ultimately, Performance Lab® Stim is a caffeine-powered cognitive enhancer. Without the jittery side effects.

To Buy, Visit: 

For a better look at Stim, let’s check out the formula:

Performance Lab® Stim Formula Analysis

The Supplement Facts for Performance Lab® Stim include:

  • NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex
    • Riboflavin+ (Vitamin B2), 500mcg
    • Vitamin B6+, 750mcg
    • Folate+ (Vitamin B9), 167 mcg
    • Vitamin B12+, 2mcg
  • Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds), 50mg
  • Suntheanine® L-Theanine, 100mg
  • Ajipure® L-Tyrosine, 250mg

Conceptually, this formula works as a duel-stack attack on cognitive performance. Though they’re all stacked together, these ingredients functionally split into two categories:

  • Performance-Tuned Stimulation: L-theanine + caffeine, the popular “wakeful relaxation” combo that powers this formula’s cognitive enhancement;
  • Caffeine Balance and Recovery: L-tyrosine + B-vitamin complex, another awesome mini-stack that helps mitigate the negative consequences of caffeine’s neurochemical brain-drain and diuretic effects.

However, it’s not just what’s in the formula but also what’s outside of the formula that makes this stim stack great. Performance Lab®’s unique NutriCap® capsules are devoid of artificial additives and synthetic chemicals, making the “Other Ingredients” just as clean and green as the formula’s primary ingredients.

Inside and out, Stim is all-natural, vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, non-GMO, and safe for daily, long-term use.

Where to buy Performance Lab® Stim

To buy Performance Lab® Stim, visit here.

To learn more about all Performance Lab® products, visit www.performancelab.com, the official exclusive storefront and info-desk for Performance Lab®’s diverse collection of health and fitness supplements.


Mind Lab Pro® + Performance Lab® Stim combine long-lasting, brain-rejuvenating nootropics to enhance the effects of caffeine on cognitive tasks.

Caffeine is a reliable, fast-acting source of cognitive energy. Yet, it’s also only a temporary source of cognitive energy.

This is where Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® Stim’s nootropics come into play.

  • In addition to enhancing the effects of caffeine on cognitive tasks, these nootropics optimize long-term brain pathways for all-around improved brainpower.

The only thing better than short-term cognitive performance enhancement is short- and long-term cognitive performance enhancement.

With Mind Lab Pro®’s stim-free Universal Nootropic™ formula and Performance Lab® Stim’s nootropic-enhanced stim stack, you’ll neither have to worry now nor later about how your brain’s doing.

To get the best deal on Mind Lab Pro®, click here.

To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Stim, click here.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article is an opinion and explanation of current research given by the author. It is not an expression of a medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on as such.

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