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Increase endurance in Sport

Caffeine and endurance

Helen Coleman . “Eating for Endurance”, 3-rd edition

When they were published initial information about the effects of caffeine, the person who posted them, was perceived as the promoter of caffeine. Those people who did not drink coffee, took his open hostility.

Those who enjoyed coffee for many years, were enthralled – at least one good thing was that they considered a bad habit.

Actually, he was an honest researcher who just wanted to publish their discoveries without any bias.

CAFFEINE is ABLE to INCREASE STAMINA in doping doses below the threshold established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, caffeine is not for everyone, in addition, there is the moral question regarding the use of caffeine in order to improve results. Caffeine is a unique position in the sporting world. The use of caffeine is limited IOC – levels in urine above 12 micrograms per millimeter is considered doping. However, caffeine is an integral part of the diets of many athletes, moderate doses of caffeine can improve endurance. Thus, caffeine potentially become legal and safe means to improve endurance.

Caffeine and Endurance

The interest in caffeine as a means of enhancing the strength, arose after studies published in the years 1978-80. In 1978, the cyclists who took 330 mg of caffeine (5 mg/kg, milligram per kilogram of body weight) one hour before pedaling with the intensity of 80% VO2max, was able to pedal to exhaustion on 19% longer (90 minutes compared to 75 minutes). In 1979 it was found that after the consumption of 250 milligrams of caffeine total amount of work done within 2 hours increased by 20%. These two studies suggested that the utilization of fat for energy increased by 30% after consumption of caffeine.

The third study, conducted in 1980, found that the intake of 5 mg/kg of caffeine reduces muscle glycogen by 42% and increases the use of muscle triglycerides 150% during 30 minutes of pedaling with the intensity of 70% VO2max.

Later studies on this topic were not many, and their results were contradictory. However, after 1990, there was a lot of scientific papers that have shown that caffeine can improve endurance.

In the experiments of 1991, a group of distance runners took 9 mg/kg of caffeine an hour before pedaling and sprinting to exhaustion with an intensity of about 85% of VO2max. Average increase stamina for running test was 44%; for Malatesta – 51%. However, the level of caffeine in the urine in one third of the subjects were near or above the threshold of the IOC.

Review caffeine research shows that consumption of 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight can improve endurance by 20-50% in elite and moderately-trained athletes who run or pedal at an intensity of 80-90% of VO2max. In fact, the dose of 3-6 mg/kg of caffeine improves performance without increasing the level of caffeine in the blood higher doping IOC threshold.

Although higher doses also improve the health, nearly one quarter of athletes who consume 9 mg/kg of caffeine, while two-thirds of those who consume 13 mg/kg of caffeine, will exceed the border of the IOC. In addition, large doses (9-13 mg/kg) of caffeine often lead to side effects (dizziness, headache, insomnia, gastric disorders) that rarely happen after consumption of 6 mg/kg caffeine or at lower doses.

How caffeine improves endurance? Caffeine affects the Central nervous system, and skeletal muscles. It is likely that the improved performance in various sports situations is controlled by different mechanisms.

There are three main theories of the effects of caffeine on performance. First. As a stimulant of the Central nervous system, caffeine increases anxiety and reduces human fatigue. Caffeine can lessen the perception of stress by increasing the speed of transmission of nerve impulses and easier recruitment of muscle fibers, allowing, thus, easier to connect muscles to work.

Second. Caffeine can increase the strength of muscle contractions, improving the flow of sodium and potassium to working muscles and the movement of calcium in them.

Third. Caffeine may increase fat utilization and reduce the consumption of carbohydrates. This hypothesis was proposed by researchers in the late ‘ 70s. Caffeine can mobilize free fatty acids from fat or intramuscular triglycerides by increasing the level of circulating adrenaline. The presence of increased amount of free fatty acids increases fat metabolism and reduces the consumption of carbohydrates. This delays glycogen depletion and, thus, increases stamina.

Caffeine leads to a twofold increase in the level of adrenaline in the blood (both during rest and during exercise) and a twofold increase in the level of free fatty acids at rest. However, the increased level of free fatty acids continues only the first 15-20 minutes from the beginning of physical activity. The use of muscle glycogen is reduced after the consumption of caffeine, but this effect lasts only 15 minutes after the start of physical activity with an intensity of 80% VO2max. Although, these metabolic processes and partially explain how caffeine improves endurance, other theories should not be excluded.

If you want to check the effects of caffeine on yourself first experiment in training. The recommended dose of 3-6 mg/kg, taken an hour before activity. Side effects associated with excessive caffeine intake, such as nausea, chills, tachycardia (heart palpitations), headache. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine and its reception will not benefit them. Athletes who are sensitive to caffeine may experience such symptoms even at low doses.

What about the diuretic action of caffeine? In theory, the caffeine should lead to dehydration of your body and increase the risk of heat stroke. None of the studies evaluating the effect of caffeine on metabolism and performance suggest that caffeine increases the risk of heat stroke. If you drink enough before, during, and after exercise, caffeine should not be a problem.

However, after training, when you try to compensate for the fluid loss, the use of cieniowany drinks can be avoided. A study was conducted comparing the effectiveness of the replenishment fluid after exercise. Tested cafenirvana soda, sports drink containing 6% carbohydrate, and water. Compared with the sports drink and water, dietary cafenirvana soda (very favorite full athletes) are poorly compensated for the loss of liquid as increased urine production.

Ethical question

Despite the fact that caffeine provides undeniable benefits, even when its level in the urine is considerably lower border of the IOC, still raises a moral question about the use of caffeine to improve performance. Even when caffeine is used in legal doses, it can be perceived as a form of doping thus calling into question the purity of sports results. The American College of sports medicine, the Olympic Committee of the United States, and the American dietetic Association does not endorse the use of caffeine to improve endurance.