SO we’ve all likely been there, caffeine connoisseur or not, from dry scooping the pre-workout before the gym or the coffee ritual you deem absolutely necessary for life to go on each morning.
Whether the desired effects of caffeine are down to chemical reactions occurring within our body or simply down to a placebo effect, I hope to explain this as best as I can below.
So if we were to define caffeine, we know that it is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. It is also quite prevalent in energy drinks and pre workout supplements such as Red Bull and Monster.
Caffeine works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, helping you stay alert and prevent the onset of tiredness. So you’re probably now wondering how this works exactly? It’s actually quite simple; Caffeine, absorbed from our digestive tract and into our bloodstream, works by blocking the function of adenosine; a compound found in the brain which dampens/limits brain activity.
It is also thought that the increased brain activity, elicited by the effect of caffeine, triggers the adrenal glands. This is what would then lead to that ‘adrenaline rush’ sensation as it is so called, which coincidentally boosts our dopamine levels. This increase in dopamine levels and adrenaline is what is going to trigger what is referred to as the ‘feel good hormone”’ which as you guessed – will make us feel good due to a sudden increase in levels of energy and alertness.
Caffeine also works for many due to the placebo effect. This is due to certain beliefs people have on its properties which include boosting concentration, performance, etc. As they say; if a placebo works – It works.
As a result of these effects, caffeine is widely relied upon to improve performance both mentally and physically, often helping us to focus longer and more intensely while also being reported to have a positive correlation with sports performance.
It is not all positive news, however! There have been a few negative side effects associated with caffeine in recent research. Caffeine has been highlighted to negatively affect our sleep quality. This is true with regard to the timing of the dose and how close this is to our bed time.
This is due to caffeine blocking the production of adenosine within our brain, adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is heavily involved in promoting and maintaining sleep. If we were looking to combat this, we might introduce a caffeine cut-off point where we would look to cut off the consumption of caffeinated products before bed. At least six hours before bed, ideally seven to eight hours – if we are looking to truly prioritise our sleep hygiene!
“Coffee is a way of stealing time which should by rights belong to your older self.” – Terry Pratchett
Lastly, I would also like to clarify that I am not a registered dietitian. All advice disclosed here is simply advisory based on my qualifications as a fitness professional and personal experience and knowledge gained working with individuals and helping them reach their goals. The advice given is not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.
I hope someone out there found some of this information useful here, just some food for thought.
For any questions in relation to this topic or training, nutrition, etc. or for coaching inquiries simply message me on my business page on instagram https://instagram.com/coachedbycashel__?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= or by email [email protected]