Why Kaged Muscle Uses PurCaf (Natural Caffeine from Green Coffee Beans)


Made by Applied Food Sciences, PurCaf contains 95% caffeine by weight (although KM’s Brian Rand says 96.5%)

If you’ve ever looked at the labels of Kaged Muscle’s Pre-Kaged, the standalone Kaged Muscle Caffeine capsules, or the caffeinated version of Amino Synergy, you’ll notice that they’re not using caffeine anhydrous, which is a synthetic form of caffeine manufactured in a lab (anhydrous meaning “without water”).

Instead, the brand led by Kris Gethin uses PurCaf, an organic caffeine source developed by Applied Food Sciences that is completely derived fromgreen coffee beans!

What’s the deal with Kaged Muscle and PurCaf?

When we interviewed Kris Gethin this summer, we dug into their 2018 product launches (such as the Ferodrox testosterone optimizer and MicroPure Whey Isolate, CreaClear creatine monohydrate, and the aforementioned Amino Synergy), and Kris told us that Kaged Muscle only sells products that work best in his body, and that includes caffeine from PurCaf.

Kaged Muscle PurCaf

Why does Kaged Muscle only use PurCaf caffeine? Outside of it being naturally-derived, there may be some fringe benefits to keeping caffeine with its natural counterparts.

On top of that, Kris has a propensity for food and supplements that are natural. This is no surprise coming from a man who works hard to “earn his residency on Earth” and will post a picture of his feet in some grass to Instagram, reminding you to “Earth yourself today”.

But our readers need more than that. We’re also seeing other new supplements like NutraBio’s EAA Energy use the ingredient, so there’s got to be something here. What is the science behind PurCaf?

PurCaf as explained by Applied Food Sciences

On the manufacturer’s website, they state that PurCaf is a highly water soluble powdered caffeine extract that’s standardized at 95% pure caffeine from green coffee beans. It’s a non-GMO, GRAS (general recognized as safe) caffeine source, and has a neutral taste profile.

Green Coffee Beans

Green Coffee Beans still awaiting ripening perfection. Image provided by Applied Food Sciences

Meanwhile, anecdotal reports (ones I agree with) are that PurCaf provides a smoother-feeling energy hit than caffeine anhydrous.

Yet that’s still not enough for us. So if we have ~95% caffeine, what’s in the other ~5%? And how pure is that competing caffeine anyhydrous in everyone else’s supplements?

Who else to ask than Kaged Muscle’s formulator, Brian Rand, who we call their “executioner” because he’s the man who’s making Kris Gethin’s demands really happen behind the scenes!

PurCaf vs Synthetic Caffeine:

First off, Brian tells us about the “competition”:

“From a composition standpoint, synthetic caffeine must meet the USP specifications, and contain 99.5% caffeine. The 0.5% balance can be impurities in the synthesis process and residual solvents.”

— Brian Rand, Kaged Muscle Formulator


PurCaf contains 96.5% caffeine, 2.5-3% naturally-occurring polyphenols and the balance water, with no chemical byproducts.”

— Brian Rand

PurCaf’s “Other” 5%: Mostly Chlorogenic Acid

How PurCaf “works” differently in the body has not been studied in humans, but Brian stated that those who have studied the effects of a combination of natural-occurring caffeine and antioxidants (think coffee) versus synthetically derived sources have found that:

Chlorogenic Acids in Coffee

The major Chlorogenic Acids in Coffee[1]

  1. When naturally-occurring antioxidants are present with the caffeine they tend to mitigate the negative effects of increased adrenal fatigue that can occur with caffeine alone

  2. When naturally derived sources of caffeine, that contain other plant-based compounds are used relative to caffeine alone one can see a positive impact on the control and release of cortisol

  3. The active antioxidants in PurCaf, namely the Chlorogenic acids, may exert protective effects against toward vascular endothelial cells, in which nitric oxide production may be enhanced, by promoting endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression, thus supporting the maintenance of normal endothelial function

  4. PurCaf is a naturally derived source of caffeine from coffee; the functional and synergistic activities in coffee, namely the caffeine COMBINED with the chlorogenic acids in coffee, have been associated with healthy carbohydrate metabolism and enhanced heart healthy benefits, relative to ingestion of caffeine alone.

Kaged Muscle Amino Synergy

In the energized form of Amino Synergy, you’ll find EAAs but not caffeine anhydrous!

He then cited several papers, all of which are referenced below.[1-8]

The general gist is this — all other things considered equal, coffee drinkers live longer, have lower rates of metabolic syndrome, and are “better-protected” against poor diets.

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean anything for PurCaf itself, since it’s important to note that several of those studies are with regard to coffee drinkers (both black and green bean) as well as higher-dosed chlorogenic acid supplementation. Regardless, what we’re seeing is that there’s something very special to coffee, and it’s probably not the caffeine, per some of the following research:

Telomere Length Data Backs up the Coffee Hypothesis

Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures that protect the ends of your chromosomes. Over time while aging, telomeres shorten,[9] and short telomeres generally lead to negative health consequences. In fact, looking at a massive study of 20,000 participants, individuals with telomeres in the shortest category had 25% greater risk of early death compared to those in the longest telomere category, after adjusting for potential confounders.[10]

With that foundation set, let’s look at the telomeres between coffee drinkers and “energy drink” drinkers.

Coffee Mortality

Whether it’s caffeinated or decaf, coffee drinkers live longer.[11] But does that mean anything to PurCaf? No, not yet at least.

A study published in 2017 showed that as caffeine intake increased, telomere length tended to decrease, signifying accelerated aging. Conversely, as coffee intake increased, telomere length tended to increase, suggesting decelerated aging.[11] This only makes sense if something else in the coffee is doing the heavy health lifting here, since caffeine (at least on its own) doesn’t seem to be.

Meanwhile, other studies have shown that it’s not just the caffeine, because decaf coffee has been associated with a small reduction in all-cause and CVD mortality.[12]

What’s this mean for PurCaf?

Honestly, we don’t know. Fact is, the ingredient itself hasn’t been studied, and likely won’t be in such massive amounts like coffee has (the studies cited above have literally tens of thousands of subjects).

But if nature is rewarding coffee-drinkers by keeping caffeine paired with its other natural constituents, then it may not be a bad idea to have some of that in your pre workout… even if it’s only 5% of the ingredient’s mass.

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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  1. Yamagata, K; “Do Coffee Polyphenols Have a Preventive Action on Metabolic Syndrome Associated Endothelial Dysfunctions? An Assessment of the Current Evidence”; Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland); vol. 7,2 26; 4 Feb. 2018; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5836016/
  2. R. Revuelta-Iniesta and E. A. S. Al-Dujaili; “Consumption of Green Coffee Reduces Blood Pressure and Body Composition by Influencing 11β-HSD1 Enzyme Activity in Healthy Individuals: A Pilot Crossover Study Using Green and Black Coffee”; BioMed Research International; Volume 2014, Article ID 482704; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/482704/
  3. Grosso, G, et al; “Factors Associated With Metabolic Syndrome in a Mediterranean Population: Role of Caffeinated Beverages”; J Epidemiol 2014; 24(4):327-333; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jea/24/4/24_JE20130166/_pdf/-char/en
  4. Grosso, G, et al; “Association of daily coffee and tea consumption and metabolic syndrome: results from the Polish arm of the HAPIEE study”; European Journal of Nutrition; October 2015, Volume 54, Issue 7, pp 1129–1137; https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00394-014-0789-6.pdf
  5. Takami, H, et al; “Inverse Correlation Between Coffee Consumption and Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome: Baseline Survey of the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort (J-MICC) Study in Tokushima, Japan”; J Epidemiol 2013; 23(1):12-20; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jea/23/1/23_JE20120053/_pdf/-char/en
  6. Ask Tybjærg Nordestgaard, Mette Thomsen, and Børge Grønne Nordestgaard; “Coffee intake and risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a Mendelian randomization study”; International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 44, Issue 2, 1 April 2015, Pages 551–565; https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/44/2/551/754960
  7. Hino, A, et al; “Habitual coffee but not green tea consumption is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome. An epidemiological study in a general Japanese population”; Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice; Volume 76, Issue 3, June 2007, Pages 383-389; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168822706004529 (backed up at https://www.docdroid.net/zH0ufsD/habitual-coffee-not-green-tea-inversely-associated-metabolic-syndrome-japan.pdf)
  8. Poliana Rodrigues dos Santos, et al; “Diet, Sleep and Metabolic Syndrome Among a Legal Amazon Population, Brazil”; Clin Nutr Res. 2015 Jan; 4(1):41-45; https://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.7762/cnr.2015.4.1.41
  9. Geraldine Aubert and Peter M. Lansdorp; “Telomeres and Aging”; Physiological Reviews; Volume 88, Issue 2; Pages 557-579; April 2009; https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00026.2007
  10. Weischer, M, et al; “Short telomere length, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, and early death”; Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology; 2012 Mar; 32(3):822-9; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22199369
  11. Larry Tucker; “Caffeine consumption and telomere length in men and women of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)”; Nutrition & Metabolism; 14:10; 2017; https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-017-0162-x
  12. Lopez-Garcia, Esther et al; “The relationship of coffee consumption with mortality”; Annals of Internal Medicine; vol. 148,12 (2008): 904-14; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3958951/

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