Although caffeine is readily accepted as an ingredient in coffee beverages at about 100mg a cup, the xanthine derivative presents itself in a myriad of other sources such as:

– Bagged Tea
– Cocoa
– Baking Chocolate
– Milk Chocolate
– Diet Coke
– Diet Pepsi
– Pro-plus Tablets

When caffeine is consumed orally, as in a beverage, virtually complete absorption occurs from the GI tract within approximately 45 minutes. Although caffeine absorption begins in the stomach, this process takes place mainly within the small intestine. Caffeine peak concentration values in the blood appear somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes after ingestion.

Caffeine has been around for many years and it is thought that Palaeolithic man discovered plants containing caffeine and made beverages from them. The word coffee is derived from the ancient Arabic ‘qahweh’ and means ‘give strength’. This description is not far from the truth as one of the recognised benefits of the caffeine ingestion is greater muscular contraction. There is evidence that caffeine acts to enhance fat metabolism, and caffeine is an effective stimulant.

When examining the possible uses of caffeine as an ergogenic aid, it must be balanced against two other factors. Firstly, three is evidence that caffeine is linked to certain health issues. Due to these possible links, caffeine use would be contraindicated for certain individuals. Secondly, it should not be overlooked that above a certain level in the blood, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has declared caffeine a banned substance. This is important as caffeine is found in many products, so levels of intake should be properly monitored in top athletes.

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