Ergogenic Aid

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a plant product found in coffee beans, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate. It can also be used in prescription and non-prescription medications like cold, allergy, and pain relievers (University Health Service). It is a stimulant of the central nervous system.


According to Cari Nierenberg, Live Science Contributor, caffeine resembles and mimics a brain chemical called adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter. Since caffeine resembles adenosine, caffeine has the ability to bind to adenosine receptors in brain cells. This prevents the actual adenosine from doing its sleep-inducing job. Caffeine speeds up nerve cell activity thus temporarily preventing drowsiness or the depression of the central nervous system and instead making the individual feel more awake and energetic (2015).


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  • Improves short-term memory and reaction time
  • Decreases fatigue
  • May help prevent type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and liver disease (WebMD)

Health risks

Consuming large amounts of caffeine can be detrimental to one's health. Having large amounts of caffeine can lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety related feelings like extreme nervousness, sweating, or tremors (University Health Service). Also, caffeine temporarily elevates blood pressure which can increase the risk of heart disease (WebMD).

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use in sports

Caffeine is typically used by athletes simply to reduce fatigue (Burke, Desbrow, Spriet, 2013). Some may argue that caffeine can be used as a performance enhancing drug however, studies have shown that it does not appear to benefit short term, high intensity exercise but can enhance performance in endurance sports (Rice University, 1995).

is it legal?

In 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed caffeine from their prohibited substances list and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) declared that caffeine is a regulated but not a banned substance (Burke, Desbrow, Spriet, 2013). Caffeine is legal to possess, buy and sell.


  • If one suddenly quits taking caffeine, they will have headaches that can last up to nine days (Tran, 2014).
  • Caffeine can be used as a hangover cure (Carpenter, 2014)
  • Energy drinks have less caffeine than coffee (Huffington Post Healthy Living Editors)
  • Some studies show that caffeine can negatively affect pregnancy (Baby Center Medical Advisory Board)