Caffeine anhydrous vs. caffeine: What are the differences?

Many people enjoy the feeling of alertness and energy that a caffeine supplement provides. Caffeine is, however, not without risk. Too much caffeine can have dangerous side effects.

Although they have different forms, caffeine and caffeine anhydrous are chemically the same.

What is caffeine anhydrous?

Caffeine occurs naturally in plants such as coffee beans, tea, and cacao, which is the source of cocoa for chocolate.

Through specific laboratory processes, which include filtering out the water and other chemical components, the caffeine from these plants will form caffeine anhydrous.

This dehydration process means caffeine anhydrous is more concentrated and, therefore, more potent than regular caffeine.

The side effect profile and risk factors for caffeine and caffeine anhydrous are similar.

The FDA cite that healthy adults can consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day in any form without adverse side effects.

That is equivalent to about 4 or 5 cups of regular strength coffee.

If a person consumes more caffeine than this, side effects can occur.

The severity of the side effects will depend on the person’s tolerance to caffeine, which will vary according to body size, average consumption levels, medications, and even genetics.

Common side effects of heavy caffeine use include:

  • headaches
  • trouble sleeping
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • nausea or lack of appetite
  • diarrhea

Excessive caffeine intake can lead to intoxication. The symptoms of too much caffeine include:

  • vomiting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • disorientation
  • seizures
  • death

Although these side effects are severe, caffeine toxicity is very unlikely with moderate consumption of caffeine in food and beverages.

Toxicity is more likely with anhydrous caffeine though, particularly when it is in a pure powdered form as this is difficult to measure accurately.

It is also possible to have withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, even within a day of the last dose.

Typical symptoms of withdrawal can include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • irritability

Gradually decreasing caffeine intake can help lessen these symptoms.


Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that has some beneficial effects, including an increased feeling of energy and better athletic performance.

Caffeine anhydrous makes it possible to take in higher amounts of caffeine without having to drink large quantities of tea or coffee. However, the risk of consuming too much means that it is best for people to avoid using purer forms of caffeine, such as caffeine anhydrous, at home.

The use of potent forms of caffeine, such as caffeine anhydrous, carries many risks, so it is essential to only use products from a reputable manufacturer who regulates their production.

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