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Coffee and caffeine boost metabolism and enhance exercise performance, study finds

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Coffee and caffeine boost metabolism and enhance exercise performance, study finds

In a recent study published within the journal Nutrients, researchers reviewed the results of coffee and caffeine on metabolism and exercise.

Coffee beverages represent the first and most widespread source of caffeine. The composition of coffee is extremely complex, with lots of of chemical constituents. Caffeine can also be present in tea, soft drinks, cola nuts, cocoa, and pharmaceutical preparations. Caffeine acts as a neurostimulant, enhancing energy substrate levels and exercise performance. The current study reviewed the results of coffee and caffeine on metabolism and exercise.

Study: Extrapolating the Coffee and Caffeine (1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine) Effects on Exercise and Metabolism—A Concise Review

Mechanisms of caffeine actions

Caffeine mainly acts by elevating catecholamine levels and inhibiting adenosine receptors. These actions contribute to acute effects like increased heart rate, energy expenditure, lipolysis, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperglycemia. Chronic effects of caffeine/coffee include weight reduction, fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and muscle hypertrophy.

Besides, the proposed mechanisms of caffeine as a stimulator of calcium release channels or a phosphodiesterase inhibitor are considered less important, as these require far higher levels of caffeine than can be achieved from regular coffee intake.

Caffeine metabolism and pharmacokinetics

A study observed a delayed response of free fatty acids when caffeine was administered to obese individuals in comparison with eutrophic subjects. This indicated the distinct metabolic effects of caffeine in obese and non-obese individuals. Within the study, caffeine-naive individuals received caffeine or placebo before a three-hour seated rest or 90-minute treadmill activity.

Obese participants had a better absorption rate constant, an extended half-life, and a lower elimination rate constant of caffeine than their lean counterparts. The study also noted that exercise consistently decreased the utmost serum concentration of caffeine in obese individuals. These findings suggested that obesity and exercise could alter the pharmacokinetics of caffeine.

Action mechanisms of caffeine (CNS: central nervous system).Motion mechanisms of caffeine (CNS: central nervous system).

Effects of coffee and caffeine on physical performance

Athletes have long been aware of the advantages of caffeine and eat it near competitive events. One study observed that caffeine ingestion increases exercise endurance and plasma epinephrine. A study evaluating the results of normal coffee, caffeine capsules, and decaffeinated coffee reported that caffeine capsules increased endurance time by 31% and 22.8% in comparison with placebo and decaffeinated coffee, respectively.

While caffeine concentrations in plasma were much like those of coffee and caffeine capsules, the adrenaline/epinephrine response with coffee was nearly half that of caffeine capsules. As such, the investigators proposed that cholinomimetic aspects in coffee might suppress sympathetic responses. In a unique study, administering rats with a compound derived from coffee reduced blood pressure and heart rate.

One other study evaluated the height concentration and time to peak between caffeine capsules, cola, and occasional intervention arms. This showed that the mean peak caffeine concentrations in saliva weren’t different between the cola and occasional groups. Nevertheless, salivary caffeine levels were higher, and the time to peak was shorter after coffee consumption than with capsules for a similar dose. Moreover, a bunch of researchers examined the ergogenic effects of anhydrous caffeine and placebos (water with quinine and decaffeinated coffee) during a cycling test. They observed that caffeine and occasional improved the performance of cyclists by similar magnitudes. One other study demonstrated that coffee intake enhanced repeated sprint performance but didn’t affect the strength exercises of resistance-trained males.

Insulin sensitivity and thermogenic effects of caffeine

Acute caffeine doses can impair glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity by inhibiting adenosine receptors or stimulating the discharge of epinephrine within the brain. Caffeine ingestion at a dose of 5 mg/kg body weight has been shown to impair insulin sensitivity to an identical extent in obese, diabetes, or lean individuals.

Furthermore, caffeine intake significantly reduced insulin sensitivity even after exercise. This suggested the predominance of caffeine’s hyperglycemic effects over the helpful effects of other coffee constituents in short-term acute trials. Chronic coffee consumption increases energy expenditure by about 100 kcal per day.

Quite a few animal and human studies have reported on the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee constituents similar to caffeic acid, ferulic acid, caffeine, chlorogenic acid, and trigonelline. In clinical studies, coffee intake has been shown to cut back inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP), C-peptides, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-18, and IL-6, amongst others.

Concluding remarks

Taken together, caffeine, as a complement or in coffee, is helpful to metabolism and improves cognition, physical performance, insulin sensitivity, and thermogenesis. While generally secure to be used at low and moderate doses, genetic variability and the dearth of standardized doses may produce divergent results. As such, it’s needed to define caffeine supplementation protocols and dosages to analyze its effects on metabolic diseases.

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