Why Kaged 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 new Hydra-Charge Amped, 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 in 2018, we dug into Kaged’s upcoming product launches, which included Amino Synergy mentioned above. Kris told us that Kaged 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 images on social media reminding you to “Earth yourself today”, featuring his feet firmly placed in healthy soil.

Natural is great, and we’ve consistently seen that keeping plant extracts with their natural cofactors is generally more efficacious, but PricePlow’s readers need more than that. What is the science behind PurCaf?

PurCaf as explained by Applied Food Sciences

On the manufacturer’s website, PurCaf’s developers state that it 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.

Meanwhile, anecdotal reports (ones we agree with) are that PurCaf provides a smoother-feeling energy hit than caffeine anhydrous. Since the interview mentioned above, Hydra-Charge Amped has been one of our favorite stimulant-based additions to the Kaged lineup, and it brings a similar sensation.

Green Coffee Beans

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

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

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

PurCaf vs Synthetic Caffeine:

First off, Brian Rand 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 containing 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 for vascular endothelial cells. For example, nitric oxide production may be enhanced, and by promoting endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression, there is greater physiological support for 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.

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

Newer research continually confirms chlorogenic acid’s benefits

Hydra-Charge Amped PurCaf

Now you can take your hydration and PurCaf energy on the go with Hydra-Charge Amped, which comes in convenient stick packs!

Since we originally published this article in 2018, even more research has surfaced, demonstrating that the bioactive components in coffee have neuroprotective effects,[9,10] there are significant improvements to the vasculature,[11] and that coffee abundant in chlorogenic acids promotes abdominal fat reduction.[12] For as much as the community has researched coffee, caffeine, and chlorgenic acid, scientists are still discovering underlying mechanisms of action, such as how the combination affects the purinergic system.[13]

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 all apply to PurCaf itself, since several of the journals cited above study coffee drinkers (both black and green bean) or higher-dosed chlorogenic acid supplementation. However, what we’re seeing is that there’s something very special to coffee, and it’s not just the caffeine, especially when you begin looking deeper into the 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,[14] and short telomeres generally lead to negative health consequences. In fact, looking at a massive study of 20,000 participants, individuals with the shortest telomeres had 25% greater risk of early death compared to those in the longest telomere category, after adjusting for potential confounders.[15]

Coffee Mortality

Whether it’s caffeinated or decaf, coffee drinkers live longer.[16] But does that mean anything to PurCaf? No, not yet at least.

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

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.[16] 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.[17]

How is synthetic caffeine created anyway?

It’s difficult to learn where synthetic caffeine is from, and this is for a reason: it allegedly largely comes from fossil fuels. In Episode #1722 of the Joe Rogan Experience,[18] Ohio State University historian Bartow Elmore explains the story behind synthetic caffeine. Beginning at the 18:30 timestamp, he explains that Coca-Cola needed more caffeine for their growing soda operation, so they contracted Monsanto to get them more.

Synthetic Caffeine

On Episode #1722 of the Joe Rogan Experience, Ohio State University historian Bartow Elmore discusses where synthetic caffeine allegedly comes from, through the lens of Coca-Cola production.[18]

Elmore explains that it was originally from waste tea leaves in the tea trade, but as Coca-Cola continued to grow, they required more. Monsanto went to work, and discovered that they could make it from urea (a nitrogon-containing substance in urine), but also coal tar. He claims that it is now derived largely from natural gas production.

Whether this is true or not cannot be verified, but learning this only further reinforced Kaged Muscle’s decision to stick with PurCaf.

What’s the chlorogenic acid research mean for PurCaf?

Although we don’t have direct research on the ingredient, the case for PurCaf is extremely positive. Fact is, the ingredient itself hasn’t been studied, and if it is, the populations studied likely won’t be as large as studies on coffee drinkers (many of which 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.

Hydra-Charge Amped

As of 2021, Hydra-Charge Amped is the latest PurCaf-based supplement from Team Kaged

Where to get PurCaf

You can try PurCaf in the following supplements:

As always, sign up for our Kaged news alerts to stay up-to-date on all of the latest news from the brand.

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Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer.

Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.

Note: This article was originally published on October 24, 2018 and updated on November 5th, 2021 with newer research and Hydra-Charged Amped.

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. Socała, Katarzyna, et al. “Neuroprotective Effects of Coffee Bioactive Compounds: A Review.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2021, 10.3390/ijms22010107; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7795778/
  10. Yao, Juan, et al. “Reversing ROS-Mediated Neurotoxicity by Chlorogenic Acid Involves Its Direct Antioxidant Activity and Activation of Nrf2-ARE Signaling Pathway.” BioFactors (Oxford, England), vol. 45, no. 4, 1 July 2019, pp. 616–626, 10.1002/biof.1507; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30951611/
  11. Naylor, Louise H et al. “Acute dose-response effect of coffee-derived chlorogenic acids on the human vasculature in healthy volunteers: a randomized controlled trial.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 113,2 (2021): 370-379. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa312; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7851825/
  12. Watanabe, Takuya, et al. “Coffee Abundant in Chlorogenic Acids Reduces Abdominal Fat in Overweight Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 7, 16 July 2019, p. 1617, 10.3390/nu11071617; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6683100/
  13. Stefanello N, et al; “Coffee, caffeine, chlorogenic acid, and the purinergic system”; Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Jan;123:298-313. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.10.005; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30291944/
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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/
  18. Elmore, Bartow, and Rogan, Joe; “#1722 – Bartow Elmore”; The Joe Rogan Experience; October 20, 2021; https://open.spotify.com/episode/0Pf1SrvTTA4Ts94Gs8vbJd?si=vuToIZyGReiierz2J7d83g

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