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Home / News / Everything You Need to Know About Kava and Caffeine

Everything You Need to Know About Kava and Caffeine

Diana Grace image

By Diana Grace

Published March 25, 2022

Some things just seem like they go together. The dynamic duos of American culture …

Let’s talk peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is a staple in family homes across the country. Now, some of you can’t abide anything other than grape and smooth PB on white bread. For others, you are diehard strawberry people. 

And then there are your outliers, you rulebreakers. You want your sandwich with hazelnut spread, chocolate chips, or marshmallow fluff. Definitely not the traditional peanut butter sandwich! (But… just try it grilled and say thank you for that little tip.)

Forrest Gump says the dynamic duo is peas and carrots. Mmmhmm. Old school cooked peas and carrots, probably from a can. That conjures memories of meals around the table back in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

But Forrest, some of us think you’re crazy. And for some of us, our gag reflex kicks in just thinking about a spoonful of warm, mushy peas and carrots. This dynamic duo is totally up for debate!!

Certain duos like this are very debatable! Like pizza and ranch!? Eggs and ketchup!? Which brings us to a commonly asked question, what about kava and caffeine?


Kava and Caffeine

Kava and caffeine are definitely not the same things, they don’t work the same way. And they affect our bodies differently. 

Some users like the results of drinking kava and caffeine side by side. It seems like it could be a good idea, all the energy you need from the caffeine while keeping the kittens away with the relaxing effects of kava. Kava actually has a tendency to heighten the stimulatory properties of caffeine, and this can be experienced in two ways.

Drinking kava and a caffeinated beverage may increase the energetic feeling. When this happens, some people love how this feels. On the other hand, drinking the two together makes people feel a little too overwhelmed in their minds and bodies.


What is Kava? 

Kava is a native plant in the islands of the Pacific. You can find it growing on the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, the Samoas, and Tonga. (And suddenly, you may find yourself wanting to do some in-person research on kava. It’s for a good cause. You should go … and do your research.)

Locals cut off pieces of the kava root, grab a chunk, toss it into their mouth, grind it into a pulp with their teeth, and then spit it into a bowl. Yummy. 

Once the root is chewed up and spat into a bowl accordingly, all the lovely kavalactones are activated. Apparently, the enzymes in saliva do something a bit magical to the root.

So, chewing the root and preparing the kava immediately results in the most potent kava because it contains the highest concentration of kavalactones. (Kavalactones are the unique compound that makes the kava do its thing in our bodies.)

There are many manufacturers who have dried and ground the kava root into a powder. So you don’t have to mess with the root at home! You’ll just need to experiment with doses and follow the directions for prepping your own drink at home.

Of course, you don’t need to do that, either. You can just hop online and order a little Calming Tonic! We take your kava experience very seriously. So, we hired the best scientist we could find and worked with him to create the perfect kava blend for you. 

At Ü Relax, we have brought together the best noble kava with lemon balm, L-theanine, ashwagandha, and chamomile. All of these natural ingredients work with the kava to bring you the best possible experience with effects you can rely on. 

To make it even better, you don’t have to prepare your Calming Tonic. We have done all of the work for you! Plus, our kava blend has a lovely fruity flavor that you won’t find anywhere else. (Opposed to a dirt-like flavor that will come from the kava powders.)

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and it is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug. It is used all around the world in various forms and has a proven effect on the mind and body through various mechanisms of action. Caffeine has a bitter taste and can be derived from over sixty plants. A few of the obvious examples are tea leaves, coffee beans, cacao pods (used to make chocolate), and kola nuts (used to add flavor to colas.) And there is also the man-made form of caffeine found in medicines, foods, and drinks.

How Does Caffeine Metabolize?

When you drink caffeine, it is absorbed by your stomach and small intestine in less than an hour. Upon absorption, it makes its way to all the tissues in the body. This includes the liver. 

In the liver, caffeine is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 oxidase system. Through this process, lipolysis increases which lead to higher free fatty acids and glycerol in your blood plasma. Blood vessels are dilated and the amount of urine increases. Eventually, it will metabolize to the point that it comes out in your urine. 

How Does Kava Overpower Metabolic Pathways?

Kava works much like grapefruit juice when it comes to the liver. It overpowers specific enzyme pathways. Actually, it affects one particular enzyme, and guess what! It just so happens to be the one controlling caffeine metabolism. 

The kava basically keeps the caffeine from being digested at its normal rate. Because it kind of stays put, the effects of the caffeine last longer and are stronger. The rate at which the caffeine’s effects begin to slow will vary from person to person.

So What?

Caffeine and kava are not dynamic duos. Should you decide to drink kava and sip on coffee, tea, or an energy drink, you will probably notice a spike in the effects of caffeine. 

So, if your body has a strong reaction to caffeine, you can expect your response to be even stronger when drinking kava than the average person’s reaction to it, possibly increasing the negative effects of caffeine including symptoms of anxiety. 

Anxiety?! Yep. Kava should actually reduce symptoms of anxiety and bring you to a nice relaxed state. Meaning caffeine is not really helping kava do its job. 

Why take a chance on the possibility of having this reaction to drinking caffeine with kava and ruining your kava experience? We recommend you stick to your kava.

Better yet, order your calming tonic and take the guesswork out of your kava experience!