Apart from liquid, a lot of sports people consume caffeine during competitions. But can caffeine really enhance our performance? This article by the Swiss magazine Fit for Life provides some answers to this question.
Caffeine has been a controversially discussed substance for years. Only 15 years ago, caffeine was still categorised as doping. In the mean time, restrictions for the consumtion of caffeine have been abolished. Amongst other reasons, because caffaine, being one of the oldest medicinal product and stimulant, is so popular in society in the form of coffee, chocolate or tea. This is what you should consider when it comes to the consumption of caffeine:
The effect of caffeine
Undeniably, caffeine has a performance-enhancing effect for many people. Caffeine increases attention, it lightens up the mood and it reduces tiredness. In addition to the stimulation of the nervous system, caffeine also improves our fat metabolism and it enhances the energy supply in our body. Since the effect of caffeine in given foods might be dependent on other ingredients and since the exact amount of caffeine can not be determined exactly, scientific studies generally use pure caffeine in their experiments.
The ideal amount
An increase in performance is likely already at an amount of 1-6 mg of caffaine per kg of body weight. However, as from 3 mg/kg, a plateau effect can be observed, where the effect stagnates significantly. Amounts over 6mg/kg often lead to stress-like symptoms such as trembling, restlessness, irregular heart rate, palpitation and a headache. Sleeping disorders are another frequently observed consequence. Furthermore, during competitions, an “overdose” of caffeine can strain our gastrointestinal tract.
This blog entry by Andreas Gonseth was provided by Fit for Life. Fit for Life is the Swiss magazine for fitness, running and endurance sports. Would you like to read such articles on a regular basis? Then click here. (unfortunately, this page is not available in English)