Caffeine: a perfect ally for athletes
For many a synonym of "coffee break", for others a means of pushing one's limits, caffeine is, according to numerous studies, the most effective stimulating substance to date. Recognized for its qualities, it was removed from the list of prohibited products in 2004 by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Small zoom on the attributes of this molecule with multiple virtues.
Where does coffee come from?
There are many legends circulating about the discovery of coffee. The most widespread is that of the Yemeni shepherd Kaldi. His goats are said to have eaten the berries of a then unknown shrub. Very intrigued by their unusual excited behavior, the shepherd reveals his adventures to the neighboring monks, who will quickly fall in love with these fruits with their stimulating properties. Roasted, these seeds will be transformed into an infusion, or a magic potion one could say, to prevent them from dozing during their long prayers.
As you will have understood, this shrub that was so mysterious at the time was none other than the coffee tree. Could these monks imagine for a single moment that twelve centuries later, caffeine would become the most consumed psychoactive substance in the world?
But where does this term “caffeine” come from? It was in 1819 that the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinant Runge identified “Kaffein” which in French would become caffeine, the chemical component of coffee.
Caffeine, where do you find it?
Caffeine is naturally present in the seeds of the coffee tree, the leaves of the tea tree, cocoa beans, kola nuts, guarana seeds or even in the leaves of yerba mate.
More concretely, on a daily basis, you may be led to consume this substance when you drink coffee, tea, mate (very popular in South America), sodas (and in particular a very famous American drink), a drink containing cocoa, energy drinks, when you eat chocolate or take certain medications. And recently when you chew OneGum!
How caffeine works on the nervous system
Before discussing the benefits of caffeine for athletes, it is interesting to understand the psychotropic effect of caffeine, in other words its action on cerebral activity at the level of the central nervous system.
Neurons in the brain are grouped into networks and communicate through the transmission of chemical messengers. Each neurotransmitter activates the next neuron to transmit nerve impulses. This activity can follow a rhythm that can either speed up or slow down. When the desire to sleep appears, a molecule called adenosine attaches itself to the neuron and slows down its activity. It is this slowing down that makes us enter a state of drowsiness. When you consume caffeine, its molecule intervenes and replaces adenosine, the chemical messenger responsible for sleep. Without slowing down, the neurons continue to fire. We thus better understand why the consumption of caffeine is interesting for combat sports or endurance sports: it improves performance over time, increases alertness and accelerates reactivity time.
The different effects on athletes
In addition to stimulating the central nervous system, caffeine acts on the cardiovascular system. It stimulates the adrenaline hormone, speeds up heartbeat and breathing. Caffeine also enhances the maximum use of glycogen and thus allows an improvement in sports performance, particularly during intense and short efforts, without forgetting a reduction in muscle pain. Yes but here it is, when you drink a coffee, the caffeine acts within 20 to 30 minutes (it will take 45 minutes for 99% of the caffeine to be absorbed). This is where OneGum stands out for its effectiveness. In less than 5 minutes, the active ingredients of OneGum are released and give you an immediate energy boost.
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