Caffeine - Overused or underrated?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for caffeine? Wait, that's ice cream. Some may say caffeine tastes as good as ice cream though? Jokes, caffeine doesn't have a taste in and of itself. Things containing caffeine do taste good though. Like coffee, teas, energy drinks and colas. 

So, some may say caffeine is as good or even better than ice cream then? I personally would 100% agree. Caffeine itself doesn't contain any calories and is the most underrated supplement on the market and not often used efficiently! 

Most of the world consumes caffeine through coffee, so it must have some awesome magical powers right that make us feel that much better?

Well yes, it actually does. Whether you’re enjoying caffeine socially in certain forms or using it specifically as a performance enhancing supplement, then both situations have good health and performance benefits.

Caffeine in most cases, is a very cheap supplement and can come in many delicious tasting forms and or tasteless forms like caffeine tablets.

It is classified as a nootropic (a drug, supplement, or other substance that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation), because it sensitizes neurons in the brain and provides mental stimulation.

It is important to note that caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy. Caffeine contains 0 calories, but what it does is mask fatigue which will result in feeling like you have more energy.

How does it work?

There is a biochemical compound in the body called Adenosine.

The brain contains receptor sites for the adenosine molecules in which they attach to. Adenosine builds up over the course of the day as its designed to sedate and relax the body, making it more tired as the day goes on.

Increased physical activity and brain function causes more adenosine to build up, this is why you feel extremely tired after a long day of work, training, and or school.

The build-up is healthy for the body, as it works with our body’s natural circadium rhythms, designed to wind the body down later in the day which makes us tired towards the end of the day when the sun goes down. After a good night’s sleep the adenosine is restored to low levels ready to start a fresh day the next morning.

Caffeine though, when consumed, attaches itself to the Adenosine Receptors and blocks the path for adenosine molecules to attach.

So, instead of gradually getting more tired, caffeine prevents this from happening and increases your metabolic rate as the cells are no longer being told to slow down. Caffeine causes alertness and wakefulness and can influence the dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and adrenalin systems, as the ingestion of caffeine also causes the body to release adrenaline, which will temporarily gives you more energy.

How much should you take?

Now if you want the optimal dose to enhance performance you can’t just guess the amount, you need to monitor it and know at what amount personally works best for you. Studies use around 4-6mg/kg of bodyweight which in a 70kg person for example that would equate to 280mg-420mg.

Now that may seem like a lot, and it is especially when you look at an average coffee contains on average 90mg of caffeine and one no-doze contains 100mg.

The thing is each individual’s tolerance to caffeine is different and varies a lot from person to person.

Caffeine tolerance can also occur as more and more caffeine is consumed over time as the brain increases the number of adenosine receptors in reaction to caffeine consumption.

This then means that for someone to get the same response from their previous intake amount, will now require a larger dose of caffeine to get the same stimulatory effects and prevent tiredness.