Caffeine Reduces Pain and Promotes Recovery

9th August 2019
Coffee is a product consumed by millions of people around the world and appreciated for its effects and its characteristic flavor. However, what happens with its main component, caffeine?

Caffeine is a compound of the group of alkaloids found in coffee, the fruit of guarana and, to a lesser extent, tea, although it can also be purchased as a supplement in pills. Because it has psychoactive characteristics and stimulates the central nervous system, caffeine reduces pain. In this article, we’ll present all of its amazing properties!

Before delving into its characteristics, it should be noted that caffeine is also found in cola drinks and commercial energy drinks, very fashionable nowadays. Both in these and in other products that contain it, we know that its main advantage is related to eliminating drowsiness.

General benefits of caffeine

This substance has great benefits when consumed in a controlled manner. Some people are more sensitive than others to its effects because of the level of sensitivity to said compound. Let’s see some of its qualities:

  • Being a stimulant. Caffeine helps to counteract physical and mental fatigue; thus, it allows having a day at full capacity.
  • Some experts talk about its effects on hair growth, especially in people with weakened follicles.
  • Relieves depressive states, since it stimulates neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin.
  • It could improve memory and prevent temporary forgetfulness.
  • It improves the detoxification of the liver, a great factor in the digestive processes.
  • According to studies, an amount of between 20-30 grams of coffee could reduce the risk of mortality from various health issues.
  • Accelerates the burning of fats in the body. This way, it leads to improvements in obesity rates.
benefits of caffeine

Benefits of this substance for athletes

Caffeine is used not only for the common benefits in the average user; it’s also highly valued as a supplement in the athlete’s diet. Many coaches recommend taking it right before a workout, to activate the athlete for an intense session of exercises.

However, it’s been discovered that it’s beneficial for other processes linked to bone-muscle pain or the recovery of these structures. Both issues are of the utmost importance for optimal performance.

Caffeine, consumed mainly as coffee, offers the body a high amount of minerals such as potassium or magnesium. In addition, it provides vitamins such as B2 and B5. Caffeine and these substances interact with each other and thus accelerate organic processes.

Caffeine reduces pain and accelerates muscle recovery

When looking for an explanation of why caffeine reduces muscle pain, researchers have found that caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in neurons. In this way, it intervenes in the perception of pain on the part of the human brain. That is, it has antinociceptive effects.

To fully benefit from these effects and effectively reduce pain right after a training session, you should consume caffeine the moment after you finish your training. This way, caffeine works as an analgesic and it allows you to keep going about your day with minimum discomfort caused by muscle strains.

Still, you have to be careful when ingesting caffeine. If your training takes place at the end of the day, you shouldn’t drink a lot of coffee or ingest high amounts. In case you do, caffeine could cause insomnia and restlessness during the night. Remember, experts recommend reducing the intake of stimulants (such as coffee or chocolate), avoid consuming copious meals or doing medium-high intensity training prior to rest.

Not every side effect is positive

While caffeine does provide many benefits for your body before and after your training, you have to be careful. Caffeine isn’t always beneficial and you must be aware of its possible negative effects.

Irresponsible consumption of caffeine can lead to insomnia and even muscle cramps. As this compound is a neuro-stimulant, it can lead to overstimulation and it could be dangerous when interacting with other medications. If you’re a patient who has to take pills constantly, always consult your doctor before consuming high amounts of coffee.

Another problem of caffeine consumption is the brain’s neurotransmitter balance. Each person has its own delicate balance, and therefore the amount of coffee they can consume will depend on their genetic characteristics. In some cases, due to the chemical balance in their brain, a person will react undesirably to caffeine.

ceffeine consumption

We need to deepen scientific progress

In all truth, there aren’t a lot of thorough studies on the effect of caffeine consumption over the muscles. Many times, coffee also has placebo effects that indirectly work over the muscles as analgesics. The line between the placebo and the actual, chemical benefits of caffeine is blurry.

However, it’s becoming clearer every day that the possibility of finding the line between these two in a scientific lab is high. Whether its a placebo or the actual compound, the truth is caffeine consumption does relieve muscle pain after training.

Consumption of caffeine to reduce pain

According to the European Food Safety Authority, the daily maximum intake shouldn’t be over the recommended 300 milligrams. You shouldn’t try to exceed this amount; otherwise, the consumer risks suffering problems or contraindications –as mentioned before-.

Finally, whenever the issue of neuro-stimulants is discussed, the user must promulgate control guidelines for these substances. If you don’t respect them, addiction tendencies may arise, and with it their corresponding internal and external repercussions. Don’t hesitate to enjoy caffeine and its benefits, but remember to consume it within reasonable amounts.

  • Daly JW. Análogos de la cafeína: impacto biomédico. Cell Mol Life Sci, 2007; 64: 2153-2169.
  • Fredholm B.B.; Battig K; Holmen J et al. – Acciones de la cafeína en el cerebro con especial referencia a los factores que contribuyen a su uso generalizado. Pharmacol Rev, 1999; 51: 83-133.
  • Goldstein J, Silberstein SD, Saper JR et al. – Acetaminofeno, aspirina y cafeína en combinación versus ibuprofeno para la migraña aguda: resultados de un estudio multicéntrico, doble ciego, aleatorizado, de grupos paralelos, de dosis única y controlado con placebo. Dolor de cabeza, 2006; 46: 444-453.