Pushing yourself hard at the gym can lead to some pretty sore muscles the next day. Although high amounts of caffeine can tax the body; researches are finding that a moderate amount could ease muscle pain.
Caffeine Reduces Perception of Pain
“Caffeine works on the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord, and this system is heavily involved in nociception (perception of pain or injury) and pain processing,” he said. Since caffeine blocks adenosine from working, he speculated that it could reduce pain sensations.
When he was a competition cyclist, he and his team mates used to meet for coffee before their training sessions. “The notion was that caffeine was helping us train harder … to push ourselves a little harder,” he said. “We didn’t know why it worked, but it did.”
Study Shows Caffeine Reduces Pain
Dr Motl and colleagues studied two groups of male college students who they subjected to high level cycling exercise. One group drank less than one cup of coffee a day (less than 1000 mg caffeine), while the other group were habitual coffee drinkers who regularly had three or four cups (4000 mg caffeine) a day.
Students were asked to abstain from coffee or cola drinks before the tests, and then were given a tablet an hour before each high intensity cycling session. The tablets were either 5mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (equivalent to two cups of coffee) or a placebo, and all students received each tablet.
They were then subjected to 30 minutes of fairly gruelling high intensity exercise, during which their oxygen consumption levels, heart rate, work rate and perception of pain in their quadriceps muscles was regularly recorded. The students were able to cycle longer and harder when they had swallowed the caffeine pill.
The study has been published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Don’t get crazy with this information and rev up your caffeine consumption. Read the article above carefully; they actually only had the amount of caffeine in 1 -2 cups of coffee. However, if you suffer from pain brought on by strenuous workouts, then you may want to supplement your diet here and there.
Be careful if you are choosing to supplement with caffeine pills. Most are dangerously high. Try using natural sources such as teas, coffee, or a mild dosage.