‘Moderate’ dose of caffeine intake found to enhance performance of female athletes – new study

By Audrey Yow

- Last updated on GMT

‘Moderate’ dose of caffeine intake found to enhance performance of female athletes © Getty Images
‘Moderate’ dose of caffeine intake found to enhance performance of female athletes © Getty Images

Related tags Caffeine Coffee Energy drinks sports performance

A ‘moderate’ dose of 6 mg/kg caffeine enhances the performance of female athletes for short-term high intensity exercises, according to a new study.

A randomised, crossover, double-blind study found that a moderate dose of 6 mg/kg caffeine enhances the performance of young female athletes for short-term high intensity exercises, while a 9 mg/kg dose was associated with more adverse side effects.

“In summary, our findings highlight the recommendation for a moderate caffeine dosage of 6 mg/kg rather than 3 or 9 mg/kg to enhance various aspects of short-term maximal performance in mild-caffeine-consumer female team-sports athletes while mitigating the occurrence of adverse caffeine side effects,”​ wrote the researchers in Nutrients​.

Little is known about the relationship between caffeine dosage and performance enhancement, particularly in female athletes. Therefore, researchers aimed to explore the effects of three different caffeine dosages – 3 mg/kg, 6 mg/kg, and 9 mg/kg – on high-intensity exercise and the prevalence of undesirable side effects related to these doses among female athletes.

Sixteen female athletes participated in the study in Tunisia. They were between 16 to 18 years old and were mild caffeine consumers.

All participants performed four experimental sessions after ingesting an unidentifiable capsule. Each capsule contained a placebo (PLAC), a 3 mg/kg caffeine dose (CAF-3), a 6 mg/kg caffeine dose (CAF-6), or a 9 mg/kg caffeine dose (CAF-9).

There was an in-between washout period of at least 72 hours, where participants did not consume any caffeine before each dose.

In each experimental session, 60 min after ingesting the capsules, participants underwent a countermovement jumps test, modified agility t-test, repeated sprint ability test, and a rating of perceived exertion. They also had to complete a caffeine side effects questionnaire.

The results showed that all performance outcomes were better for the CAF-6 and CAF-9 conditions than for the CAF-3 conditions. However, participants who consumed CAF-9 reported adverse side effects.

“Our findings revealed that in comparison to the PLAC condition, the modified agility t-test, repeated sprint ability (mean), and repeated sprint ability (best) performances were significantly greater only under the CAF-6 and CAF-9 conditions,”​ wrote the researchers.

“All the performance outcomes were better for the CAF-6 and CAF-9 conditions than for the CAF-3 condition.”

However, there was no significant difference between the CAF-6 and CAF-9 conditions observed despite the highest incidence of side effects being noted for the CAF-9 condition.

“Therefore, the findings highlight the recommendation of consuming a moderate dose of 6 mg/kg of caffeine as opposed to 3 or 9 mg/kg to optimise various aspects of short-term maximal performance in young female team-sports players without the prevalence of disturbing caffeine side effects,”​ the researchers concluded.

Athletes and coaches may find the caffeine dosage recommendation useful in implementing caffeine intake strategies throughout busy training and tournament schedules. However, the researchers cautioned that this study had limitations. For example, there were no measurements of blood caffeine levels, which makes the actual absorption impact of various caffeine dosages unclear. They also did not examine the influence of menstrual cycle on performance and caffeine gains.

Therefore, further research is needed to address the areas that were not considered in this study.

 

Source: Nutrients

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16050640

“Optimizing Short-Term Maximal Exercise Performance: The Superior Efficacy of a 6 mg/kg Caffeine Dose over 3 or 9 mg/kg in Young Female Team-Sports Athletes”

Authors: Houda Bougrine, Achraf Ammar et al​.

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