While the performance-enhancing effects of energy drinks are commonly attributed to caffeine, recent research has shown greater facilitation of performance post-consumption than typically expected from caffeine content alone. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to investigate the independent and combined effect of taurine and caffeine on behavioural performance, specifically reaction time. Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, within-subjects design, female undergraduates (N=19) completed a visual oddball task and a stimulus degradation task 45min post-ingestion of capsules containing: (i) 80mg caffeine, (ii) 1000mg taurine, (iii) caffeine and taurine combined, and (iv) matched placebo. Participants completed each treatment condition, with sessions separated by a minimum 2-day washout period. Whereas no significant treatment effects were recorded for reaction time in the visual oddball task, facilitative caffeine effects were evident in the stimulus degradation task, with significantly faster reaction time in active relative to placebo caffeine conditions. Furthermore, there was a trend towards faster mean reaction time in the caffeine condition relative to the taurine condition and combined caffeine and taurine condition. Thus, treatment effects were task-dependent, in that independent caffeine administration exerted a positive effect on performance, and co-administration with taurine tended to attenuate the facilitative effects of caffeine in the stimulus degradation task only.
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