Along with being the morning stimulant of choice for most American adults, caffeine has the ability to influence more than just the first few hours of your day. When taken in moderation, caffeine has been shown to influence the body in a number of interesting ways. That being acknowledged, here are 3 ½ (yes, you read that correctly) of our favorite lesser-known caffeine factoids.
3 1/2 Things You Didn’t Know about Caffeine
1 – You Can Get Your Caffeine Absorption in 1 Hour or Less (Mostly).
On average it takes 40 minutes for 99% of the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee (or pre-work out if you happened to be an exceptionally motivated individual) to kick in.1
When it comes to receiving your dose of caffeine quickly and effectively, it seems that liquids may be the best delivery method. Research has shown that beverages like coffee, energy drinks, and pre-work outs can deliver caffeine in half the time of more substantial delivery options like gums and capsules. That being acknowledged, if you’re looking for a sustained caffeine release, capsulated caffeine may be worth considering. Studies have shown that it can take anywhere from 84-120 minutes for the blood saturation level to reach 90%.2
2 – Caffeine May Help You Finish that Extra Set at the Gym.
As it turns out, caffeine is good for more than just an energy boost. Thanks to its ability to mimic adenosine, a key player in our sleep-wake cycles, caffeine has the ability to temporarily alleviate feelings of drowsiness by blocking the adenosine receptors in the brain.
Along with its drowsiness blocking abilities, several studies have linked pre-workout caffeine with enhanced performance. According to one 2012 study, when participants were given 180 milligrams of caffeine 60 minutes before their resistance exercise-based workout (i.e. bench pressing, deadlifting, back squats, and rowing) they were able to perform significantly more reps. Perceived exertion levels were also lower in the caffeinated group.3
2 ½ – Where do the adenosine molecules go when their neural receptors have been blocked by caffeine molecules?
When there’s no receptor for them to sit in, the adenosine molecules remain in the blood stream, which then causes our adrenal glands to release extra adrenaline – providing an additional boost of short-term energy.
A word of caution: Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to excessive adrenal function, which in turn, can lead to medical complications. Like everything, caffeine is best consumed in moderation.
3 – Suffering from Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness After Your Work Out? Caffeine May Be Able To Help.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that even though the participants in the caffeinated group had completed more repetitions during their lifting sessions they reported less post-workout soreness than their un-caffeinated counterparts.4 Researchers have suggested that the reason for the decrease in post-workout soreness may be linked to caffeine’s aforementioned ability to block adenosine.
Currently, there are hundreds of studies on the effects of caffeine on the human body. And according to that massive body of research, when it’s taken in moderation and cycled properly, caffeine may offer some surprising benefits.
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1 – Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance: Formulations for Military Operations ( 2001 )
3 – Duncan, M. J., Smith, M., Cook, K., & James, R. S. (2012). The acute effect of a caffeine-containing energy drink on mood state, readiness to invest effort, and resistance exercise to failure. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(10), 2858-2865.
4 – Hurley, C. F., Hatfield, D. L., & Riebe, D. A. (2013). The effect of caffeine ingestion on delayed onset muscle soreness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27(11), 3101-3109.