Myth Buster Monday: How Does Caffeine Give You Energy?

How Does Caffeine Give Us Energy: MythBuster Monday


Americans drinks over 400 MILLION Coffees each and everyday; with 64% of United States adults drinking coffee on a daily basis. For most of us, we do not feel alert until we have had our morning coffee. The reason coffee is so potent at increasing is due its relatively high amounts of caffeine(~100mg per 8 fl oz). A recent, International society of sports nutrition position stand deciphered through all the research on Caffeine and sports performance and found….

International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance: Main takeaways

  1. Supplementation with caffeine has been shown to acutely enhance various aspects of exercise performance in many but not all studies. Small to moderate benefits of caffeine use include, but are not limited to: muscular endurance, movement velocity and muscular strength, sprinting, jumping, and throwing performance, as well as a wide range of aerobic and anaerobic sport-specific actions.
  2. Aerobic endurance appears to be the form of exercise with the most consistent moderate-to-large benefits from caffeine use, although the magnitude of its effects differs between individuals.
  3. Caffeine has consistently been shown to improve exercise performance when consumed in doses of 3–6 mg/kg body mass. Minimal effective doses of caffeine currently remain unclear but they may be as low as 2 mg/kg body mass. Very high doses of caffeine (e.g. 9 mg/kg) are associated with a high incidence of side-effects and do not seem to be required to elicit an ergogenic effect.
  4. The most commonly used timing of caffeine supplementation is 60 min pre-exercise. Optimal timing of caffeine ingestion likely depends on the source of caffeine. For example, as compared to caffeine capsules, caffeine chewing gums may require a shorter waiting time from consumption to the start of the exercise session.
  5. Caffeine appears to improve physical performance in both trained and untrained individuals.
  6. Inter-individual differences in sport and exercise performance as well as adverse effects on sleep or feelings of anxiety following caffeine ingestion may be attributed to genetic variation associated with caffeine metabolism, and physical and psychological response. Other factors such as habitual caffeine intake also may play a role in between-individual response variation.
  7. Caffeine has been shown to be ergogenic for cognitive function, including attention and vigilance, in most individuals.
  8. Caffeine may improve cognitive and physical performance in some individuals under conditions of sleep deprivation.
  9. The use of caffeine in conjunction with endurance exercise in the heat and at altitude is well supported when dosages range from 3 to 6 mg/kg and 4–6 mg/kg, respectively.
  10. Alternative sources of caffeine such as caffeinated chewing gum, mouth rinses, energy gels and chews have been shown to improve performance, primarily in aerobic exercise.
  11. .Energy drinks and pre-workout supplements containing caffeine have been demonstrated to enhance both anaerobic and aerobic performance.

How Does Caffeine give us energy?

Like the previous Mythbuster Mondays our assumptions are wrong. Many assume it gives us energy, but energy can only come from macronutrients(proteins, carbohydrates, fats). In some senses, caffeine does “give us more energy” by increasing our metabolism and mobilizing our fat burning. This increased metabolism energy production is part of what gives us physical performance enhancement from Caffeine

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

The mental benefits that most of us chase with our morning coffee, does not come from increased metabolic rate. Instead, caffeine interferes with the very process of becoming tired. We begin to feel “tired” when adenosine, the chemical byproduct of activity, binds with A1 receptors in your brain. The process by which caffeine makes us feel alert, is that caffeine competes against Adenosine for these binding sites. This limits how many adenosines are able to bind with A1 receptors. Thus, caffeine does not give us more energy. Instead, it just makes it so we don’t realize we are tired.

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