Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2014 Nov;44 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S175-84.
doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0257-8.

Exercise and Sport Performance With Low Doses of Caffeine

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Review

Exercise and Sport Performance With Low Doses of Caffeine

Lawrence L Spriet. Sports Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Caffeine is a popular work-enhancing supplement that has been actively researched since the 1970s. The majority of research has examined the effects of moderate to high caffeine doses (5-13 mg/kg body mass) on exercise and sport. These caffeine doses have profound effects on the responses to exercise at the whole-body level and are associated with variable results and some undesirable side effects. Low doses of caffeine (<3 mg/kg body mass, ~200 mg) are also ergogenic in some exercise and sport situations, although this has been less well studied. Lower caffeine doses (1) do not alter the peripheral whole-body responses to exercise; (2) improve vigilance, alertness, and mood and cognitive processes during and after exercise; and (3) are associated with few, if any, side effects. Therefore, the ergogenic effect of low caffeine doses appears to result from alterations in the central nervous system. However, several aspects of consuming low doses of caffeine remain unresolved and suffer from a paucity of research, including the potential effects on high-intensity sprint and burst activities. The responses to low doses of caffeine are also variable and athletes need to determine whether the ingestion of ~200 mg of caffeine before and/or during training and competitions is ergogenic on an individual basis.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Plasma caffeine concentrations for 1 h at rest and during exercise to exhaustion at 80–85 % of maximum oxygen uptake in recreationally active subjects after the consumption of a placebo (open circles), or 3 (filled squares), 6 (filled triangles) or 9 (filled circles) mg/kg body mass of caffeine. Data are means ± standard error (n = 8). exh exhaustion (reproduced from Graham and Spriet [2], with permission)
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Effects of ingesting no caffeine (0) or 3, 6 or 9 mg/kg body mass of caffeine (dose) on running time to exhaustion at ~85 % of maximum oxygen uptake. Data are means ± standard error (n = 8). Bars with different letters are significantly different, and bars with the same letters are not significantly different (reproduced from Graham and Spriet [2], with permission)

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 42 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Pasman WJ, VanBaak MA, Jeukendrup AE, et al. The effect of different dosages of caffeine on endurance performance time. Int J Sports Med. 1995;16:225–230. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-972996. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Graham TE, Spriet LL. Metabolic, catecholamine and exercise performance responses to varying doses of caffeine. J Appl Physiol. 1995;78:867–874. - PubMed
    1. Spriet LL, MacLean DA, Dyck DJ, et al. Caffeine ingestion and muscle metabolism during prolonged exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 1992;262:E891–E898. - PubMed
    1. Graham TE, Spriet LL. Performance and metabolic responses to a high caffeine dose during prolonged exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1991;71:2292–2298. - PubMed
    1. Graham TE, Helge JW, MacLean DA, et al. Caffeine ingestion does not alter carbohydrate or fat metabolism in skeletal muscle during exercise. J Physiol. 2000;529(3):837–847. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.2000.00837.x. - DOI - PMC - PubMed

Publication types

Feedback