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Caffeine and exercise: metabolism and performance.

School of Human Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario.
Canadian journal of applied physiology = Revue canadienne de physiologie appliquée (Impact Factor: 1.3). 07/1994; 19(2):111-38. DOI: 10.1139/h94-010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Caffeine ingestion prior to prolonged exercise delays fatigue. However, the mechanisms involved are very unclear. Caffeine is associated with elevated plasma epinephrine but the metabolic impact of this is uncertain. Glycogen sparing occurs in active muscle, at least in the first few minutes, but studies have generally failed to demonstrate enhanced fat metabolism. The demethylation of caffeine by the hepatic cytochrome P-450 oxygenases begins within minutes and dimethylxanthines (especially paraxanthine) are generated. These compounds appear in the plasma within an hour of caffeine ingestion and may have effects on tissues that have been attributed to caffeine and/or epinephrine. While the most widely supported theory is that caffeine and other methylxanthines are adenosine receptor antagonists, this action alone cannot explain all of the observed responses. Nevertheless, habituation to and withdrawal from caffeine are associated with up and down regulation of adenosine receptors. One study demonstrated marked differences in the effects of caffeine on the plasma concentrations of epinephrine and dimethylxanthines between caffeine users and nonusers. Caffeine is clearly a very active drug that has many effects on humans including increasing exercise endurance. This can be associated with muscle glycogen sparing and elevated plasma epinephrine, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown.

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