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Drinking Coffee May Improve Athletic Endurance and Performance

A University of Georgia review study of the research literature shows that drinking coffee (instead of a caffeine supplement) improves athletic endurance performance. Also, that caffeine from coffee has ergogenic benefits—that it enhances physical performance. More beneficial effects of coffee! From Medical Xpress:

Coffee may improve athletic endurance performance, review finds

The caffeine in a morning cup of coffee could help improve athletic endurance, according to a new University of Georgia review study....To research the issue, Higgins reviewed more than 600 scholarly articles and screened them for those that focused only on caffeinated-coffee conditions, measured the caffeine dose and measured an endurance performance. Of these, nine randomized control trials specifically used coffee to improve endurance."Previous research has focused on caffeine itself as an aid to improve endurance," Higgins said.

 Looking at the nine trials, Higgins found that between 3 and 7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of caffeine from coffee increased endurance performance by an average of 24 percent. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary from 75 mg to more than 150, depending on the variety and how it's roasted and brewed. 

In the nine trials, participants either cycled or ran after drinking coffee. They then exercised vigorously and the results were measured. In a majority of cases, endurance was noticeably improved after the use of coffee.When researching the effects of caffeine from coffee, Higgins found two important discoveries: that caffeine from coffee has ergogenic benefits—that it enhances physical performance—and that more research is needed on the use of caffeine from coffee versus pure caffeine use.

"While there is a lack of high-quality research on coffee as a source of caffeine, there is an abundance of research on pure caffeine," he said. "It's surprising how little we know about caffeine from coffee when its endurance effects could be just as beneficial as pure caffeine."

Higgins said that coffee shouldn't be dismissed as less beneficial for endurance. He found that coffee appears to be just as helpful as taking caffeine in the form of powder or tablets.... Higgins says that more research is needed before giving official recommendations to athletes, especially since the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary depending on how it's prepared.

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