Adequate Dose of Caffeine for Athletes

25 June, 2020
Be careful with caffeine overdose and mixing it with alcohol. Here, we'll discuss the right dose of caffeine for athletes.
 

There are lots of benefits surrounding caffeine for athletes. In addition to improving cognitive performance, it can also delay the onset of fatigue and decrease perceived exertion. It’s a substance that people use to improve performance in all sports, both endurance, and strength.

However, it has some interactions with other supplements, such as creatine. Until a few years ago, researchers thought that caffeine reduces the effects of creatine. However, current studies question that idea.

Doses of caffeine for athletes

Caffeine supplements usually contain between 90 and 180 mg of this substance per dose. In combat sports, specialists recommend taking between 1.5 and 3 mg/one pound of body weight to improve muscle strength and endurance levels, according to this article.

For resistance exercise, the dosage ranges between 1.5 and 4.5 mg/pound of body weight, administered one hour before exercise, according to the journal Sports MedicineHowever, doses above this range could be counterproductive and cause side effects such as insomnia.

Also, it’s important to consider how you take caffeine. Its intestinal absorption is much slower via oral consumption. So, if you chew caffeinated gum, you should start chewing between five and ten minutes before starting to exercise.

Side effects of caffeine

Despite being an ergogenic substance, in high doses, it can be dangerous. In addition, you build a tolerance over time. Some symptoms of caffeine poisoning are:

 
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Muscular fasciculations.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
A person holding a cup of coffee.

For these reasons, you must be precise when taking supplements so you don’t exceed the recommended doses. In any case, it’s possible, especially in long-term sports, to take more caffeine during the competition itself.

For example, during a four-hour competition, you might take 160-180 mg of caffeine beforehand, then another 90 mg after two hours.

Caffeinated foods for athletes

On the market, you can find lots of products that contain caffeine. Some teas, coffees, and carbonated drinks often contain this substance. However, beware of over-the-counter stimulants and exercise drinks, as they often have large doses of caffeine.

Sometimes, this substance is mixed with other stimulants such as taurine to enhance its effects. There are scientific articles that talk about the dangers of these drinks, especially when children or teens drink it.

The toxic potential of caffeine in large doses can be dangerous in young people, especially when mixed with alcoholic beverages.

 

Positive health effects of caffeine for athletes

The bibliography also references other health uses of caffeine. For example, researchers are studying how caffeine may prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

We still need to understand better how caffeine works. However, some research seems to suggest that caffeine could have some influence on preventing some diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Creatine and caffeine supplements.

Additionally, some articles also mention the role in preventing kidney stones by increasing urine output. Regardless, this feature is still unclear and needs further investigation. Also, there are older articles that mention the possibility that caffeine itself helps form kidney stones.

Conclusion

Caffeine is an ergogenic substance used worldwide for its positive effects on exercise. It has the ability to delay the onset of fatigue and decrease perceived effort. Also, it could increase muscle strength levels for a limited time.

The doses of caffeine for athletes range from 1.5 to 4.5 mg/ pound of body weight. Also, the time you should take it varies depending on the type of caffeine you take.

However, you need to be careful not to overdose. It can be toxic in high doses, and there may be side effects if you take too much.

 
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  3. Curran CP., Marczinski CA., Taurine, caffeine, and energy drinks: reviewing the risks to the adolescent brain. Birth Defects Res, 2017. 109 (20): 1640-1648.
  4. Cappelletti S., Piacentino D., Sani G., Aromatario M., Caffeine: cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive drug? Curr Neuropharmacol, 2015. 13 (1): 71-88.