December brings parties, performances, and presents. The planning can be dizzying. This week I found myself thinking about caffeine a bit more than usual. Becoming more familiar with caffeine research can help you use it more effectively.
Caffeine Supports Neurotransmitter Balance
This study was focused on the influence of caffeine on neurotransmitters during exercise. Increased concentrations of serotonin in the brain may impair central nervous system functioning during prolonged and exhaustive exercise. It may, therefore, be responsible for the deterioration of exercise performance during long exercises.
Low dopamine is associated with increased exercise fatigue. In some areas of the brain, dopamine inhibits serotonin synthesis and delays fatigue during exercise. Caffeine may block the central nervous system depressant adenosine, allowing dopamine to rise and delaying exercise fatigue.
Thirty men, aged 19-25, that did not routinely drink caffeine participated in this study. Participants had blood drawn, then received either water or 3 mg/kg caffeine with the same amount of water. After 60 minutes of resting, participants completed a 75% VO2 max treadmill running exercise for 40 min with no drinking. It was followed by another blood draw.
The blood dopamine concentration increased only in the caffeinated group. The blood concentration of β-endorphins also significantly increased only in the caffeinated group. Both groups experienced similar increases in serotonin, prolactin, and cortisol concentrations during the exercise.
The researchers concluded that 3 mg/kg of caffeine 1 h before a 75% VO2 max treadmill running exercise increases dopamine, without any effect on serotonin.
Caffeine Enhances Endurance in Women
Most studies on caffeine have been done exclusively on men. Part of this is because of the fluctuation of women’s hormones. This study controlled for women’s menstrual cycles and looked for potential differences in caffeine effectiveness between men and women.
Eleven female and sixteen male endurance-trained cyclists and triathletes completed a set exercise as fast a possible. This was done 90 minutes after taking a placebo or 3 mg/kg caffeine.
Both men and women experienced benefits in performance. The amount of improvement was also similar between the genders. It was noted that, before the caffeinated runs, the blood levels of caffeine were similar between the groups. But after the exercise trial, women had a greater amount of caffeine still in their blood.
The researchers concluded that the current recommendations of 3-6 mg/kg caffeine before endurance exercise may also apply to women.
Caffeine Enhances Power Performance
This study compared two different sized doses of caffeine during resistance exercise. It also looked at the power of perception of the treatment.
Fourteen trained men, ages 18-31, completed a training session in chest-press, shoulder-press, and biceps curl exercises until exhaustion one hour after taking nothing, 3 mg/kg caffeine, or 6 mg/kg caffeine. Participants consumed less than 93 mg caffeine regularly, classified as low habitual usage. Participants were told the study would involve caffeine and placebo.
Fewer reps were completed after taking the placebo, compared to taking 3 mg/kg or 6 mg/kg caffeine. The results were similar for 3 mg/kg and 6 mg/kg caffeine.
No significant differences were observed among subjects who reported that they felt aware of the presence of caffeine.
Thoughts on Caffeine Supplement Studies
Low dopamine is not only associated with exercise fatigue. It's also associated with poor focus, motor control, motivation, and reward. Part of caffeine’s effects are attributed to an increase in dopamine.
Dopamine varies throughout the menstrual cycle in response to hormones, so related research is easier to conduct on men. It’s good to see a study verifying women also experience an ergogenic effect from caffeine. But it’s curious that the dopamine seemed to linger longer in the blood of women.
The third study, above, showed the ergogenic effect of caffeine can surpass the placebo effect. It’s also valuable to know that doubling caffeine intake won’t necessarily give a bigger performance boost. So there's no need to increase the risk of jitteriness by taking more than 3 mg per kg (about 1.4 mg per pound) bodyweight.
Thrivous Surge Acute Nootropic
Thrivous developed and distributes Surge Acute Nootropic to enhance energy and focus. It provides 100 mg Caffeine per serving, along with Theanine and Ginseng to enhance the effects of Caffeine.
Thrivous bases each nutrient and each dose in Surge on multiple human studies. And the quality control documentation for Surge is completely open source. These are exceptional practices in the supplement industry.
It you want to take about 3 mg per kg of Caffeine before your workout, that translates into the doses of Surge listed in the table below. Thrivous recommends that you avoid daily use of Caffeine, and that you avoid taking more than 400 mg Caffeine in a single day. As always, please consult your physician before and during use of all supplements.
|<50 kg (110 lbs)||100 mg||1 capsule|
|50-80 kg (110-176 lbs)||200 mg||2 capsules|
|80-115 kg (176-254 lbs)||300 mg||3 capsules|
|>115 kg (254 lbs)||400 mg||4 capsules|