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Caffeine: Does cognitive and physical performance increase?


The coffee is highly rooted in the western culture, to such an extent that to remain with somebody is used to  do with a “take a coffee?”, although afterwards you ask you another thing, that perhaps and although you do not know it, also contains caffeine. But, it is bad the caffeine? Which effects has the caffeine on our organism?

This are some of the questions that have done  in a recent scientific study published in the magazine Neurosciencie & Biobehavoral Reviews by the researchers Caldwell, McLellan and Lieberman (2016) that did a review to the diverse existent studies on the cognitive effects and in the physical performance of the caffeine.

Drinks with more caffeine.

The caffeine no only is present in the common coffee but in other a lot of types of drinks and foods like the chocolate or the tea. For putting an example of his consumption, roughly 85% of the Americans consume caffeine

According to the data of l Institute of Medicine of United States published in 2014 these are some of the drinks and foods with elder cantigive of caffeine by each 100 ml (takes  this reference since each drink serves  in a different size):

  1. 10h Time Release®: 740 mg.
  2. 5h Energy®: 333 mg.
  3. Cocaine®; 120 mg.
  4. Chocolate to cook: 115 mg.
  5. Coffee (method of dripping): 60-100 mg.
  6. Instantaneous coffee: 27-72 mg.
  7. Redbull®: 34 mg.
  8. Monster®: 34 mg.
  9. Tea (5 minutes of infusion): 13-33 mg.
  10. Chocolate with milk: 3-50 mg.
  11. Tea (1 minute of infusion): 6-22 mg.
  12. Mountain Dew: 16 mg.
  13. Coca-Tail Light®: 13 mg.
  14. Pepsi®: 11 mg.
  15. Coca-Tail®: 10 mg.
  16. Pepsi Light®: 10 mg.
  17. Freezing tea: 6-10 mg.
  18. Hot chocolate: 1-5 mg.
  19. Coffee decaffeinated: 1-3 mg.
  20. Beaten of chocolate with milk: 1-3 mg.

Biological effects of the caffeine.

The consumption of caffeine begins  to consider dangers for the health when it is upper to 400 mg daily in a person of 75 kg of weight. Roughly, this is the content of caffeine of some 3-4 cups of coffee (only, normal).

The caffeine forms part of the farmacological group of the xantinas (beside the teobromina and the teofilina) and takes his name of the Arab plant to designate to the coffee. The xantinas exert a stimulating action of the Central Nervous system and of the contractile answer of the skeletal muscle and the contractabilidad cardiac, action diurética, the vasoconstricción of the circulation in the brain and the relaxation of the smooth musculature are others of the actions of these substances in our organism that like another type of drugs can generate syndrome of abstinence.

The caffeine absorbs  more slowly accompanied of food, the fastest form of absorption is chewing it in chewing gum (Kamimori et al., 2002). The caffeine has a half life of 3-5 h in circulation (Fredholm, 1995). This time can vary by the effects of the tobacco, the feeding, the pregnancy the use of contraceptives or some hepatic illnesses.

Effects in the rendimento cognitive of the caffeine.

The caffeine exerts his effects on the cognitive function and physics through the blockade of the receptors To1 and To2to of the adenosine in the SNC and the peripheral fabrics affecting like this to the receptors of dopamine (Ferré, 2016), by what turns into another inducement more for the system of human reward, like the produced by another type of drugs or drugs.

>> Article related: How it affects the nicotine to the brain? 

The caffeine improves the state of alert and general surveillance in moderate doses from among 100-300 mg (Nehlig, 2010) and is efficient so much in individuals rested like fatigados (Smith, 2011).  Dose higher, upper to 400 mg can generate states of anxiety. The caffeine also exerts positive effects on the performance of cognitive processes like the time of reaction (Einother and Giesbrecht, 2013).

Regarding the memory, the studies have not been able to concretise his positive effects, but could be related with the level of boredom and commitment with the task in concrete (Amendola et al., 1998) and the effects neuroprotectores of the caffeine (Fredholm, 1995).

Resumiendo, according to the reviews of Caldwell, McLellan and Lieberman (2016), the moderate doses of caffeine from among 32-300 mg improve the surveillance, the learning and the state of spirit and increases the considerably the performance when external factors loom it.

Caffeine and physical activity: ergogenic properties of the caffeine.

The caffeine improves the innate capacity of generation of physical work in the organism (ergogenic property). It has checked  that his moderate consumption (200-500 mg) 1 hour before the exercise has a positive profit in activities that involve muscular strength and resistance of high intensity in exercises for exercises of an upper length to 60 seconds or during realisation of proofs of speed, agility or power in intervals repeated of high intensity.

The caffeine reduces the perception of effort (Doherty and Smith, 2005) and the feeling of pain (Gliottoni et al., 2009 Motl et al., 2003, 2006, O’Connor et al., 2004, Plaskett and Cafarelli, 2001, Stadheim et al., 2013, 2015).

However, high dose of caffeine (more than 450 mg) can degrade the performance so much physicist like cognitive when producing anxiety and damages gastrointestinales. They exist individual differences by what contrives it would be that the sportsmen tested the effects of the caffeine before the competition to optimise his consumption and the period of abstinence before confronting  to the physical activity.

>> Article related: When the anxiety is not the problem but the solution

In definite, the caffeine like any another drug has to be consumed with moderation to avoid greater evils but his moderate use and controlled can be beneficial in tasks that involve cognitive tasks and physical effort.

If you want to know more on his effects can visit the original article in English here.



Amendola, C.To., Gabrieli, J.D.F., Lieberman, H.R. 81998). Caffeine’s effects on performance and mood Plough independent of age and gender. Nutr. Neurosci., 1. 269-280

Caldwell, J.To., McLellan, T.M, Caldwell, J.To., Lieberman, H.R. (2016). To review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71. 294-312, ISSN 0149-7634, Recovered of

Doherty, M, Smith, P.M (2005). Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion during and after exercise: To it put-analysis. Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sports, 15.  69-78

Einother, S.J.L., T. Giesbrecht, T. (2013). Caffeine Ace an attention enhancer: reviewing existing assumptions. Psychopharmacology, 225. 251-274

Ferré, S. (2016). Mechanisms of the psychostimulant effects of caffeine: implications for substance Use disorderPsychopharmacology

Fredholm, B.B. (1995). Adenosine, adenosine receptors and the actions of caffeinePharmacol Toxicol, 76. 93-101

Kamimori, H.G, C.S. Karyekar, C.S., Otterstetter, R., Cox, D.S., Balkin, T.J., Belenky, G.L., Eddington, N.D. (2002). The rate of absorption and relative bioavailability of caffeine administered in chewing gum versus capsules to Normal healthy volunteers. Int. J. Pharm., 234. 159-167

Lieberman, H.R., Carvey, C.And., Thompson, L.To. (2010). Caffeine. P.m. Coates (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, Informs Healthcare USES, Inc., New York

Nehlig, To. (2010). Is caffeine To cognitive enhancer? J.  Alzheimers Dis., 20. S85-S94


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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