Monday, April 6, 2009

More Good News on Java

Good news, coffee drinkers, said Bill Hendrick in WebMD Health News. According to a new study, “coffee might literally be a brew that promotes health.” It turns out that caffeine dulls the pain from exercising, potentially allowing people to work out for longer periods of time. The results were true for both habitual coffee drinkers and those who generally avoid caffeine.

The study took in 25 fit men who were put through a series of different intensity trials on a stationary bicycle.

The riders abstained from caffeine for 24 hours before the tests and they were then given a nondescript tablet -- either a pill containing the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee or a placebo.

Oxygen consumption, heart rate and their work rate were monitored as the cyclists were also quizzed on their "perceptions of quadriceps muscle pain" during the trials.

"We've shown that caffeine reduces pain reliably, consistently during cycling, across different intensities, across different people, different characteristics," said Professor Robert Motl of the University of Illinois.

The riders were also selected to represent heavy coffee drinkers - an intake of three to four cups daily or 400 milligrams of caffeine -- and those who drank little to no coffee.

Prof Motl said this was designed to show whether a higher tolerance to the stimulant would, as anticipated, dull any other effect the caffeine could have on the riders.

"What we saw is something we didn't expect - caffeine-naive individuals and habitual users have the same amount of reduction in pain during exercise after caffeine," he says.

"If you regularly consume caffeine, you have to have more to have that bigger mental-energy effect but the tolerance effect is not ubiquitous across all stimuli."

In the study, Prof Motl said the caffeine was known to affect the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord, and this system was heavily involved in pain processing.

The study was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Prof Motl, a former competitive cyclist, said the research would come as no surprise to the many cyclists who have a coffee before a gruelling training ride or those people who down one on the way to the gym.

"I think a lot of people are taking caffeine before a workout and they don't realise the actual benefit they're experiencing," he said.

"That is they're experiencing less pain."

Many runners already “swear by the dark magic beans,” said Mark Will-Weber in Coffee wakes you up for the morning run, and “keeps you perky for mile after mile.” Too much coffee, of course, can mess with athletes’ insides, causing “the sudden urge for bathroom breaks”—not good for races. Still, the study does give new meaning to the slogan “America runs on Dunkin’.”

Remember that Frank Shorter drank some flat Coke and water mixture en route to winning the Olympic marathon gold medal in 1972, with both the sugar and caffeine providing some lift in the late miles.

And keep in mind that Hammer Nutrition has many products that contain caffeine such as their new flavor of Perpetuem, Caffe Latte.

Time to head to the local java shop!


Borsch said...


Bill said...

Guess its the caffeine laced GU packets for us non-coffee drinking runners to get the required amount or I'll have to switch to Jolt or some other highly caffeinated energy drink before my runs.