Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that is widely consumed in a variety of forms. It produces multiple physiologic effects throughout the body. It is thought that this is mediated mainly through action at centrally located adenosine receptors. Caffeine has been studied for its potential use as an ergogenic aid. Several studies have demonstrated an improvement in exercise performance in submaximal endurance activities. Its potential ergogenic effect in acute, high-intensity exercise is less clear. Because of its potential use as an ergogenic aid, it use in sports is regulated by most sanctioning bodies.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
References and Recommended Reading
Mellion MB, Walsh WM, Madden C, et al.: Team Physician’s Handbook, edn 3. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002:186–187.
Swift RM: Specific drugs. In Textbook of Primary Care Medicine, edn 3. Edited by NobleJ, GreeneHL,LevinsonW, et al. Philadelphia: Mosby; 2001:445–450.
Rogers NL, Dinges DF: Caffeine: implications for alertness in athletes. Clin Sports Med 2005, 24:e1-e13. This paper provides good background information about caffeine, its potential ergogenic effects for athletes, and potential risks and benefits.
Leski MJ, Terrell TR: Nutrition and ergogenic aids. In Textbook of Family Practice, edn 6. Edited by Rakel RE. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2002:856.
Hartley TR, Sung BH, Pincomb GA, et al.: Hypertension risk status and effect of caffeine on blood pressure. Hypertension 2000, 36:137–141.
Hartley TR, Lovallo WR, Whitsett TL: Cardiovascular effects of caffeine in men and women. Am J Cardiology 2004, 93:1022–1026.
Chou T: Caffeine, coffee, and the medical consequences. West J Med 1992, 157:544–553.
Cauli O, Morelli M: Caffeine and the dopaminergic system. Behav Pharmacol 2005, 16:63–77.
Applegate EA, Grivetti LE: Symposium: nutrition and physical performance: a century of progress and tribute to the modern Olympic movement. J Nutr 1997, 127:896S-873S.
James JE: Critical review of dietary caffeine and blood pressure: a relationship that should be taken more seriously. Psychosomat Med 2004, 66:63–71.
Ellender LE, Linder MM: Sports pharmacology and ergogenic aids. Prim Care 2005, 32:277–292.
Ahrendt DM: Ergogenic aids: counseling the athlete. Am Fam Physician 2001, 63:913–922.
Stuart GR, Hopkins WG, Cook C, Cairns SP: Multiple effects of caffeine on stimulated high-intensity team-sport performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2005, 37:1998–2005.
Davis JM, Zhao Z, Stock HS, et al.: Central nervous system effects of caffeine and adenosine on fatigue. J Appl Physiol 2003, 284:399–404. One of the initial studies outlining the effects that caffeine play in the central nervous system and its crucial role as an antagonist of adenosine receptors.
Bell DG, McLellan TM, Sabiston CM: Effect of ingesting caffeine and ephedrine on 10-km run performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002, 34:344–349.
Bell DG, McLellan TM: Exercise endurance 1, 3, and 6 h after caffeine ingestion in caffeine users and nonusers. J Appl Physiol 2002, 93:1227–1234.
Ciocca M: Medication and supplement use by athletes. Clin Sports Med 2005, 24:719–738.
Cox GR, Desbrow B, Montgomery PG, et al.: Effect of different protocols of caffeine intake on metabolism and endurance performance. J Appl Physiol 2002, 93:990–999.
Bell DG, McLellan TM: Effect of repeated caffeine ingestion on repeated exhaustive exercise endurance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2003, 35:1348–1354.
Paton CD, Hopkins WG, Vollebregt L: Little effect of caffeine ingestion on repeated sprints in team-sport athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001, 33:822–825.
Jackman M, Wendling P, Friars D, Graham TE: Metabolic, catecholamine, and endurance responses to caffeine during intense exercise. J Appl Physiol 1996, 81:1658–1663.
Graham TE, Hibbert E, Sathasivam P: Metabolic and exercise endurance effects of coffee and caffeine ingestion. J Appl Physiol 1998, 85:883–889.
McDuff DR, Baron D: Substance use in athletics: a sports psychiatry perspective. Clin Sports Med 2005, 24:885–897.
Babu KM, McCormick MA, Bird SB: Pediatric dietary supplement use - an update. Clin Pediatr Emerg Med 2005, 6:85–92.
Jacobs I, Pasternak H, Bell DG: Effects of ephedrine, caffeine and their combination on muscular endurance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2003, 35:987–994.
Greenway FL, de Jonge L, Blanchard D, et al.: Effect of a dietary herbal supplement containing caffeine and ephedra on weight, metabolic rate, and body composition. Obes Res 2004, 12:1152–1157.
Jordan S, Murty M, Pilon K: Products containing bitter orange or synephrine: suspected cardiovascular adverse reactions. Can Med Assoc J 2004, 171:993–994.
Caffeine and athletic performance. In The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor, edn 1. Edited by Rouzier P, White T, Gilfilan T, Johnson J. Amherst, MA: SportsMed Press; 1999:283–284.
About this article
Cite this article
Keisler, B.D., Armsey, T.D. Caffeine as an ergogenic aid. Curr Sports Med Rep 5, 215–219 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11932-006-0050-z