I’m a regular user of coffee, the legal drug that is associated with athletic performance enhancement.
According to a Fitness Genes blog post (10/03/18- Dr. Haran Sivapalan),
reports suggest that around 74% of elite athletes use caffeine either before or during an event, and the majority of these seem to be endurance athletes. There’s good reason for this. Studies of cyclists, rowers, and runners show that caffeine can significantly prolong time to exhaustion, increase average power output and improve finishing times. Caffeine works by blocking a receptor in the brain, called the adenosine receptor. It’s this action that explains how caffeine stimulates our nervous system and keeps us awake. Blocking adenosine is also thought to improve the recruitment of muscles, reduce our perceived effort during exercise and dampen our perceptions of pain, all of which help endurance exercise.
I’ve settled into a few morning cups- usually no more than three. In the late afternoon I’ll sometimes have another cup a half-hour before I head out on a mountain bike ride or a hike. I’ve recently discovered that I can also enjoy an occasional espresso after dinner, with no disruptive effect on my sleep.
I’m what is known as a fast processor of caffeine. It’s clear that caffeine isn’t an equal opportunity enhancer. The extent to which individuals experience performance benefits appears to vary according to how fast you metabolize caffeine. This, in turn, depends on your genes, particularly your CYP1A2 gene.
I’m a fast metabolizer of caffeine. My Fitness Genes analysis indicates that I have the AA genotype for CYP1A2, which results in an ability to break down caffeine more quickly.
In 2006, Dr. El-Sohemy and his colleagues published a study in JAMA showing that slow metabolizers had a heightened risk of heart attacks if they frequently drank coffee, compared to people who were genetically classified as fast caffeine metabolizers. The scientists theorized that the drug, which can constrict blood vessels, hung around and produced longer-lasting — and in this case undesirable — cardiac effects among the slow metabolizers.
“The fast metabolizers rode nearly 7 percent faster after they had downed the larger dose of caffeine compared to the placebo. The moderate metabolizers, by contrast, performed almost exactly the same whether they had received caffeine or a placebo.”
Clicking below will introduce you to learn how a peformance-based training program that includes coffee appears to keep at least one professional sports team on the run.