Monday, February 26, 2007

Coffee With Your Warm-up?

I didn't really need any data to justify my coffee habit because I came to the conclusion long ago that I'm going to drink it anyway. I know, I know. I'm so quick to cringe at even the hint of toxicity or antinutrients but coffee is my comfort food and I'm just as weak and whiny as everyone else when it's suggested that I give it up. Keep in mind then, that the data that makes it through my coffee filter will tend to support my habit. I got this little tid-bit in my inbox while I was sipping my morning brew. Ahhh, fabulous:

In January, researchers at the University of Georgia reported a breakthrough in the battle against DOMS. Their study, to be published in the February 2007edition of The Journal of Pain reports that moderate caffeine ingestion, the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee reduces post-exercise muscle pain by up to 48%.

Nine previously untrained female college students who were not regular caffeine drinkers engaged in a single bout of exercise that caused moderate muscle soreness. The unique exercise bout consisted of electrical stimulation to produce eccentric contractions of the quadriceps muscle. One and two days later they were given either caffeine or a placebo prior to performing the same exercise at both maximal and sub-maximal efforts. Participants given caffeine1-hour before the maximum force test experienced a 48% reduction in pain and a 25% decrease in pain with the sub-maximal force test compared to controls.

The authors speculate that caffeine blunts the pain response by blocking adenosine receptors. This prohibits adenosine, which is released in response to inflammation, from binding and completing the pain loop.

Based on the results of this study caffeine may be more effective than many common OTC medications used to reduce pain and soreness, ibuprofen,acetaminophen (Tylenol) aspirin, and naproxen (aleeve). Previous studies onIBU have been inconsistent in producing a significant reduction in pain from DOMS.

Although the results of this study appear promising, take caution in recommending this approach to clients/patients. There are some limitations to this original research. First, the researchers did not evaluate men, who may respond differently to caffeine than women. Second, caffeine sensitivity may play a role, and people who currently use caffeine regularly may not benefit. Third, some people are intolerant of caffeine because of side-effects that include increased feelings of anxiety, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, increased urination and disrupted sleep.