The absolute guide to caffeine, zeal style.

Oh yes, another post on caffeine. In spite of the fact I love the stuff, it isn’t bad for you in certain quantities, it can actually be a performance booster, and it comes in some foods/beverages I dearly love (IE: Coffee, Tea, Chocolate) some zeal reps still insist that it doesn’t have caffeine. Why? I don’t know. Not only do I want to reiterate the fact that most zeal formulas DO INFACT CONTAIN CAFFIENE (including the guarana free version), I want everyone to learn a little more about our stimulating little friend.

First, you are probably asking: Johnny, where do you find it?

I’ll tell you where! They add caffeine to many things. You may be surprised which soft drinks actually contain caffeine. They usually add anhydrous caffeine to these boogers. It is chemically derived from plants. How? Look at Wikipedia. You probably don’t care anyways. You may be able to spot it in some of your rootbeer, cream sodas, and even orange drinks. Not to mention the obvious monster/cola/yellow citrus drink types. It also comes in those caffeine pills, and even migraine medicine. Now they even add it to food. Ever see some perky jerky on the shelf? It takes 2 things that are awesome, caffeine and jerky, and combines them! They are even adding it to gum. I even saw some guy pitching caffeine waffles on the Shark Tank at one point. Possibilities are endless when you can douse everything with it.

As we all know, zeal doesn’t list caffeine on their ingredient list. Why? Because they don’t really have to. It is up to you to know what has caffeine. No one picks up a coffee and automatically assumes it doesn’t have caffeine because it doesn’t say it does. The same for a glass or bottle of tea. You don’t know what concentration it is in, and the only reason you probably knew there was caffeine in it, is because someone told you. The things above are what we like to call naturally occurring caffeine.

Naturally occurring caffeine happens. It is in over 60 plants in the world. People use the stuff everywhere, usually for a pick-me-up. Furthermore, if a product is regulated as a dietary supplement, there is no requirement to post a caffeine content.  Think monster/ red bull They are regulated as a dietary supplement, and so is zeal. What do both of them have in common? Naturally occurring caffeine.

So now, where do you find naturally occurring caffeine? Lucky for you I am such a great guy, I have compiled a list off common places you find it.

Guaraná (Paullinia cupana): also known as Brazilian cocoa. Guaraná seeds have the highest caffeine content (2.5%-5%) of any known plant.

Yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis), AKA mate. Also South American. The leaves and branches are prepared as a tea, which contains about 70 mg/100 mL of caffeine (compared with coffee at 57 mg/100 mL). I have seen smaller numbers. Chronic ingestion of yerba maté has been associated with esophageal and other cancers. (Already covered in the review of the wellness drink).

Cola nut (Cola acuminata): cultivated in Africa and Central and South America. The nut is prepared as an extract containing about 1.5%-2.5% caffeine for flavoring foods and cola beverages.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao), also known as cocoa and chocolate, contains various smaller amounts of caffeine. For example, a 1.55-oz Hershey’s® milk chocolate bar contains about 9 mg of caffeine per serving.Not that much.

Tea (all types, too many to name): They all contain caffeine. It varies wildly. Somewhere below coffee normally. Green tea is packed with antioxidants. J


For more info on caffeine content, check out the Mayo Clinic.


So, how much caffeine is too much? That depends on tons of things. Some people are hypersensitive to it, some people are pretty darn tolerant of the stuff. The FDA suggests no more than 300mg/day, although most continuously exceed that dosage. I have read that caffeine toxicity can occur at 8-14g (yes, that is 8,000-14,000mg) or 150-200mg per kg body mass. You would have to bomb a ton of coffees or redbulls to hit that, or take 3 bottles of caffeine pills. Ill effects can come before that in the form of dependence, tolerance, tacharrhythmias, and sleep disturbances.


I alluded to it earlier, but what is caffeine good for? Tons of things, actually. It works great for headaches, especially when combined with other pain relievers. All types of headaches: regular, migraine, and postoperative. Let us not forget our old friend mental alertness and performance, which is why most of us use it. It seems to increase alertness and performance after sleep deprivation. Combined with taurine it seems to provide a small improvement in mental performance, and combined with glucose, seems to outperform both caffeine and glucose alone in the mental performance department. Want some coffee with that sugar?

Everyone knew all of that, right? I bet you didn’t know it was good for endurance training. Clinical research shows that taking caffeine 2-10 mg/kg seems to increase physical endurance and might increase the time to exhaustion during physical exertion for some activities. One clinical study also showed that taking caffeine 6 mg/kg one hour before exercise significantly decreases subjective feelings of exertion during 90 minutes of exercise. Coffee and tea consumption has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, helps with hypotension (who would have thought?), decreased risk of parkinsons, reduced risk of gallbladder disease, weight loss, and improve airway function in people with asthma. Zeal fixed my asthma anyone?  

Interesting side fact: Caffeine is FDA approved as a food, drug, and a supplement.

Funny thing is, caffeine does most of the things that zeal reps say zeal does. It is a cool little thing in certain doses, you find it everywhere, and 40-50% of zeal reps won’t even admit to it having it in spite of its good points. The only thing that doesn’t have it is the protein drink. Zeal has caffeine. Deal with it. Embrace it. Love it. It is ok that it has it. Heck, it is probably one of the best things working for it, and most effective thing in it. You know, besides those ground up multivitamins that are magically only able to be processed when they are in Zeal, lol @ you reps again. I remember stating before that you would be better off taking a multivitamin and a cup of green tea or coffee. Looks like I was right. The dishonesty and ignorance of those folks floors me. Actually, take a look at this ridiculous and absolutely false little piece of media I have seen floating around the zeal facebook pages (I am lurking in your bushes… lol).

Anyways folks, I hope you enjoyed my half-caff write up. Cliffnotes: coffee and tea are yummy and healthy in moderation as long as you don’t make them unhealthy by adding sugar and processed fat nastiness. Use half and half or milk if you need some color in your coffee. I have references below. I think I got them all, if I missed one and you want it, I will gladly post it up.



6 thoughts on “The absolute guide to caffeine, zeal style.

  1. What’s funny is that the reps tell you “this stuff is so amazing- you feel a difference in 20 minutes!!” I figured it was a crock of shit, so I tried two samples and didn’t feel anything… Then I realized that the immediate “wow” people were feeling was the caffeine. The way they talk about it they lead you to think that the nutrients get in your body just THAT fast and start working their magic 😛

    • Ha ha. Yep. Interesting thing is, it takes days to weeks to cure a mineral deficiency, and it it takes perhaps longer for herbals to take effect. Caffeine would be the only thing that gives you that instant magical feeling of being “zealed up” as I heard one rep say.

      • Well, I do disagree with you there. Herbs can work fairly quickly, and you may feel the effect of a vitamin or mineral quickly depending what it is and how deficient you are. An easy example is to talk to any anemic who has taken iron. Usually they feel a huge difference in a few days. I use herbal supplements in my practice and personally and have gotten quick results with different conditions. It really depends what you’re treating. Hormonal imbalances take a LONG time, especially in women. Insulin resistance is a bitch. Patching up an irritated gut is relatively quick, as are most herbs that impact the nervous system.

        But yeah, I chalk up the Zeal effect to the caffeine 😛

      • I said days to weeks. I would agree that an individual with IDA would see benefit within a few days, but usually, I have seen it take 3-4 weeks for the iron panel to return to normal. I have seen a few herbals work quick, but most of them require sometime to build up to therapeudic levels. Also, they can intensify or reduce the effectiveness of certain prescription meds (Think the CYP3A4 garlic/statin issue). But I saw your site, and I would say you already know that. Other supplements such as glucosamine sulfate can take 3 months to work. It varies, but overall, in my experience they tend to take more time than less.

  2. Yeah, it often can depend on the quality of the product (herb, supplement), too. I’ve seen people say supplements don’t work, only to see that the GOOD ones actually do. In the case of glucosamine, it probably takes that long because you’re actually hoping to repair damaged tissue as opposed to stimulate an enzymatic pathway or a neuronal pathway (which is much, much quicker). That, and the turn-over rate for cartilage is so slow you have to wait for the body to actually take the time to build new tissues. Oh, and yes, my bad- I see now you said days to weeks 🙂

    Great stuff- keep up the good work!

  3. Sorry for reviving an old thread…
    I wonder if they got in trouble for not mentioning it because I was given some samples and it says “contains naturally occurring caffeine” on the side of the bottle. I’m not going to buy it because as you said, you could get the same benefits with a multi and a cuppa.

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