• Question: Hello questions involving caffeine because I saw that it works as an ergogenic and I wanted to know why. Also What happens wand why it happens and if somebody who drinks coffee regularly stops drinking it suddenly ?

    Asked by Sacha Carnière to Andrew, Dilip, Emma, John, Ruth on 18 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Emma Feeney

      Emma Feeney answered on 18 Nov 2015:

      Hi Sacha. An ‘Ergogenic’ is something that increases physical performance, and caffeine is known to stimulate the central nervous system, so it can increase blood flow and heart rate. This may improve some physical performance in some people, but the research suggests that it isn’t the case for everyone.

      As for stopping drinking coffee, I am someone who drinks coffee regularly and has stopped in the past (I’m back on it at the moment!)
      I can tell you from personal experience that regular coffee drinkers who stop can experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and feeling irritable (…that could just be me!) for a few days!

    • Photo: John Gleeson

      John Gleeson answered on 18 Nov 2015:

      As Emma said the research isn’t wholly conclusive on Caffeine in that regard. There was a lot of caffeine added to the earliest nutritional supplements for high performance athletes but I think this has gradually decreased. The same was done with Guarana a plant which seeds contained twice the amount of caffeine as coffee!

    • Photo: Andrew Quigley

      Andrew Quigley answered on 18 Nov 2015:

      Hey Sacha!

      Regular drinking of coffee can change the chemistry of your brain! Caffeine acts on special places on brain cells called adenosine receptors. Over time your brain produces more and more of these receptors and in turn it takes more and more caffeine to get the same alert feeling.

      Emma’s headache is caused by the brain freaking out because it’s used to having loads caffeine to satisfy the receptors and once there’s not enough caffeine to go around, the brain basically freaks out – which causes that horrible headache!