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Coffee drinkers across the globe will praise the pick-me-up effects that are the result of caffeine – a direct stimulant of the central nervous system.

Coffee drinkers across the globe will praise the pick-me-up effects that are the result of caffeine – a direct stimulant of the central nervous system. This helps to sharpen focus and concentration levels, and as a result, is one of the main ingredients featured in energy drinks, pre-workout formulae (and some medicinal preparations, too). However, some people may prefer to take caffeine as a lone supplement – without the other ‘stuff’.

Caffeine is known as an ergogenic aid which means that can be used to enhance performance. As such, it remains a popular substance in sports nutrition, producing multiple physiological effects throughout the body. It’s effectual in combating fatigue and improving cognitive function, and helps to speed up reaction time.

By definition, caffeine does not truly increase energy levels – rather, it targets certain parts of the autonomic nervous system. Predominantly, it rouses the spinal cord, as well as something called muscle fibre recruitment; essentially, this boosts contractile strength. It activates the pituitary gland, which then sends a feedback message to the adrenals, prompting the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Collectively, this is thought to negate/minimise sensations of pain, discomfort, tiredness and lethargy. Caffeine has also been shown to encourage thermogenesis – the body’s mechanism of burning calories through heat production.

Being a natural compound of the methylxanthine group, caffeine can be sourced from many plants including coffee and cacao beans, tea and yerba mat\u00e9 leaves, kola nuts and guarana berries – all of which have widespread, commercial use. Coffee – as mentioned – is perhaps one of the most frequently consumed, psychoactive products in existence! Once extracted, caffeine appears as a white, crystalline powder.

Since caffeine is a drug, dependency is possible. At the very least, people tend to have an individual tolerance level, which is usually proportionate to intake, and builds gradually. This means that its effects can wean over time – i.e. you may find that require more caffeine to achieve the same ‘kick’, and that lower doses have a less potency.

Caffeine is considered safe, but an upper limit of 400mg daily is advisable – which is about the equivalent of four cups of coffee, two scoops of pre-workout, or two caffeine tablets (with variance occurring across brands). Certain medical conditions make it unsuitable for consumption. For example, pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as those with high blood pressure, anxiety or insomnia. High doses of caffeine can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as raised heart rate, irritability, nervousness or ‘jitters’, nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness, light-headedness and sporadic muscular movement. Some people are naturally more sensitive to caffeine, becoming aware of its effects after consuming as little as 20mg.

Caffeine is popular amongst endurance athletes and bodybuilders alike. As mentioned, it can be taken on its own or stacked with other supplements such as nitric oxide (NO) precursors, beta-alanine and l-carnitine, depending on your goals. It’s really down to your personal choice and what works for you.



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Mutant Core Caffeine


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