7 Great Benefits of CAFFEINE

Here are seven reasons to consider supplementing with caffeine.


Thirteen resistance-trained men ingested a caffeinated (179 mg) energy drink or placebo solution 60 minutes before completing a bout of the following exercises: bench press, deadlift, prone row, and back squat exercise to failure at an intensity of 60 percent one-repetition maximum. Subjects who consumed the caffeinated beverage performed more repetitions to failure in all exercises. The RPE or ratings of perceived exertion was higher in the placebo condition.


Get this— a chewing gum that’s caffeinated! Move over, Wrigley. In this gum study, eight male cyclists participated in five separate laboratory sessions. In their first visit their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) was determined. During the next four visits, three pieces of chewing gum were administered at three timed points (120 min. pre-cycling, 60 min. pre-cycling, and 5 min. pre-cycling). The dose of caffeine given was 300 milligrams. They discovered that caffeine administered in a chewing gum enhanced cycling performance when administered immediately prior, but not when administered one or two hours prior to cycling. Clearly caffeine can help both endurance and strength-related exercises.


A fairly recent study determined the effects of caffeine on repeated sprint ability, reactive agility time, sleep and next day exercise performance. Did you get all that? Ten male athletes consumed a placebo or caffeine (6 mg per kg bodyweight) one hour prior to exercise. Significant improvements were shown after caffeine ingestion compared to placebo for the combined total time of each set and best sprint time. However, the coolest part of this study was that the caffeinated group still had better performance the following day. That’s right, the following day. Caffeine, however, had little effect on reactive agility time or sleep. Also, a caffeine-containing energy drink (3 mg/kg wt dose) increased repeated sprint ability during a simulated soccer game.


One study looked at the effects of Red Bull on cardiovascular and neurologic functions in college-aged students enrolled at Winona State University. They found that Red Bull consumption lessens changes in blood pressure during stressful experiences and increases one’s pain tolerance. Another study on Red Bull found that upper body muscle endurance on the bench press was improved. Similarly, Red Bull improved aerobic endurance (maintaining 65-75% maximum heart rate) and anaerobic performance (maintaining maximum speed) on cycle ergometers. It also helped brain function. Scientists found improvements in mental performance that included choice reaction time, concentration (number cancellation) and memory (immediate recall), which reflected increased subjective alertness. Another energy drink, Redline, significantly improved subjective feelings of focus and energy in male strength/power athletes and enhanced their reaction time.Despite the naysayers who proclaim energy drinks a threat to heart health and Western civilization, fear not. The stuff works and is safe when used in appropriate dosages.


For real? Caffeine affects hormone levels? Check this out. Forty-two healthy adults were recruited from the Boston community who were regular coffee consumers, nonsmokers and overweight. That’s an interesting trio of things. Participants were randomized to five 6-ounce cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated instant coffee or water (control group) per day consumed with each meal, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. After four weeks, the consumption of caffeinated coffee increased total testosterone and decreased total and free estradiol in male subjects. What does this mean? It means I’m drinking lots of coffee.


The data shows it. In a large cohort of initially healthy women, elevated caffeine consumption was not associated with an increased risk of incident atrial fibrillation. Caffeine also helps prevent stress and improves memory. Another study found that “coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD. This may be mediated by caffeine and/or other mechanisms like antioxidant capacity and increased insulin sensitivity. This finding might open possibilities for prevention or postponing the onset of dementia/AD. Sounds like a lot of gobbledygook. And I assure you, it might be. But caffeine truly is good for you.


Perhaps one of the biggest myths surrounding caffeine is that its use will have a severe diuretic effect. Interestingly, the science just doesn’t support that. One review states that there is no evidence that consuming caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle leads to fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested or is associated with poor hydration status.


About 3-5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram bodyweight will do the trick. So at the low end of dosing, a 100- and 200-pound person would need to consume 136 and 273 milligrams of caffeine, respectively. At the high end, it would be 227 and 454 milligrams, respectively. Or to make things simple, 200-300 milligrams of caffeine will likely suffice for virtually everyone.