Is caffeine really good for working out?
The science on caffeine seems to grow by the day and it’s definitely a trendy topic for nutritional scientists to research. The latest has been more analysis on caffeine’s effect on exercise by the University of Toronto.
Caffeine has long been used by athletes as a legal stimulant to boost their performance, so the researchers investigated the effect of caffeine on 101 male student athletes.
Each athlete were given caffeine pills, equivalent to consuming a strong cup of coffee, alongside a segment of the group that were given non-caffeine pills as a control group for comparison.
They then analysed the athletes after a heavy 6km run.
And the results?
90% of athletes had a positive increase in their speed with an average of 5% quicker speed times on the 6k run.
10% of athletes were slower – averaging 14% slower on the 6k run.
So why the difference?
The scientists concluded that it’s down to specific genes and how they process caffeine. The researchers believe the CYPIA2 gene may be the deciding factor in how our bodies process caffeine and found that the gene CYPIA2 determines how we process caffeine in our bodies.
Unfortunately, some people have a genetic variation of CYPIA2 that makes them less able to digest caffeine. It also increases their risk of heart attack when ingesting caffeine and exercising.
So, in short, caffeine does seem to have a positive effect on the majority of people when exercising apart from a minority that suffer a negative effect, so it’s probably worth monitoring your performance with and without caffeine to gauge if it’s right for you.
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