Caffeine Citrate, aka Cafcit, is made by mixing citric acid with calcium to form a type of salt. Medically, it is typically used in the treatment of migraines, but is most often given to very premature infants in order to help them breathe.
How Caffeine Citrate Works
Like the caffeine it is derived from, caffeine citrate is a central nervous system stimulant. It helps premature infants by stimulating the areas of the brain that control breathing, and relaxes the muscles around the bronchial tubes, widening those airways and making it easier to breathe.
Caffeine Citrate and Fitness
Caffeine citrate is also used as a diet aid, and is usually found in pills with names like Xtreme Rush Power Energizer. Typically, these pills will promise a burst of energy and will also contain dried, powdered caffeine as well as ingredients like yohimbe, green tea extra and Yerba Mate. Though in many cases the exact dosage of the ingredients in the diet pills are not listed, you should typically expect to find the equivalent of 1 to 2 cups of coffee in each pill.
Pros and Cons
Caffeine citrate functions in much the same manner as caffeine, but due to its chemical makeup, takes effect much faster. Like caffeine, Cafcit will increase stamina and increase the heart rate, improving blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Since caffeine citrate aids breathing function, it will help more oxygen to get into the bloodstream faster. It also increases the amount of adrenaline in your system, causing a rush of extra glucose and oxygen to your muscles, and releasing pain-reducing endorphins.
Since the caffeine in caffeine citrate is essentially adulterated, you need to take twice as much as you would with regular caffeine in order to get the same effect. Aside from the greater speed at which caffeine citrate works, there are no "extra" effects on the body. Negative effects from Cafcit are, again, much the same as one would feel when suffering from a caffeine overdose: irritability and nervousness, sleeplessness and a rapid heartbeat.
What's the Point?
If caffeine citrate has much the same effects as regular caffeine, both good and bad, is there any real point in taking it in the place of caffeine? Yes, caffeine citrate takes effect more quickly, but you have to ingest about twice as much of it in order to get the same effect as an equivalent amount of caffeine. It's available most widely to adults in pill form, most of which not only try to replicate the caffeine effects of coffee and tea, but the antioxidant effects as well, which is why green tea extract and Yerba Mate are so often listed as ingredients.
Timing and ease of use would seem to be the best arguments for caffeine in pill form, for when there's no time or space for caffeine in liquid form. Those may well be the deciding argument for many. The best fitness plans are always customized for the user, and only you can decide what fits best with yours.