Essay on Caffeine in Athletics

1985 Words 8 Pages
Caffeine in Athletics

The world’s most popular drug is legal, inexpensive, and believed to amplify workouts. It supposedly motivates athletes and helps them stay alert and focused while also boosting physical endurance by twenty to fifty percent. This stimulant is found naturally in sixty-three plants and is consumed by eighty percent of Americans. This white, bitter, crystalline substance is known as caffeine, and is commonly consumed in efforts to enhance athletic ability (http://gopher1.bu.edu/COHIS/substance/caffeine/about.htm).

Caffeine is a very popular stimulant among athletes because most believe that it provides energy, increases alertness, and quickens reaction time. When in beverage form,
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The end result is an increase in blood sugar for use as muscle fuel. Basically, it is believed that caffeine raises the general metabolism of the user, which resultantly increases the activity and raises the body’s temperature (wysiwyg://35/http://onhealth.com/ch1/indepth/item/item.34623_1_1.asp).

What about endurance?

Various studies have been conducted in attempts to connect the use of caffeine with increased endurance levels. Graham and Spriet (1995) conducted a double-blind test involving eight endurance runners. Each participated in a control test previous to the study in which they ran a prescribed distance, to the point of exhaustion. All ate similar meals and abstained for caffeinated substances previous to the trials. Over a four-week period, each runner returned to the laboratory to run the prescribed distance while intravenously being given varying doses of caffeine. A blood and oxygen sample was collected every fifteen minutes during the run in order to record the time span until physical exhaustion was reached. The results confirmed that low doses of caffeine caused a drastic increase in endurance levels, while not altering the epinephrine (or adrenaline) levels. Also, large doses of caffeine caused great increases in plasma epinephrine levels while only slightly altering the endurance levels. This test, therefore, supposes that small doses of caffeine, when compared to
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