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Caffeine’s Effect On Physical And Mental Alertness

Okay, myth or reality: Caffeine can enhance one’s mental alertness and performance?

Sure, it sounds like one of those too-excellent-to-be-right thoughts, but the studies continually confirm that caffeine really does improve performance. Not just physical, bodily improvement in terms of energy or endurance, but improvement in the ancient gray matter areas. It probably comes as no surprise that caffeine helps boost energy. Any cursory reading of the ingredient mark on a sports energy drink confirms that. After all, professional-level athletes have a long history of tipping back a caffeine-laced drink a few hours before competition to give them an edge. Although you might be tempted to reckon it is the sprinters that get the most help from that sudden rush of caffeinated force, it is really the endurance sports athletes who derive the most benefit. And it makes sense once you reckon about it. Who would be more likely to need caffeine rushing through their bloodstream, the 100 meter guy or the marathon man?

How does caffeine increase physical endurance? The body’s best fuel lies in its stout. If it can get to that storage supply, it will run like a well-tuned race car. Caffeine is kind of like putting STP in your body; it acts to help the stout burn more efficiently. It only take a few minutes after the caffeine has been ingested for it to travel from the intestines to the blood stream and once in the blood, it makes its way to every organ in the body. (A small aside guaranteed to win a bar bet every now and then: Did you know that the liver is not the body’s largest organ, as is commonly thought? It’s your skin.)

Once that caffeine starts reaching the huge guns inside you, it really gets down to business. Heart rate increases, smooth muscles start to relax, digestive acids kick into overdrive. In addition, caffeine also boosts your levels of dopamine, giving an effect similar to taking an amphetamine. As if all that weren’t enough, caffeine also pumps adrenaline into you, no doubt contributing to that well-known of surge of energy that many people get from their morning coffee. Clearly, it’s not hard to see how ingesting caffeine could enhance your physical performance. Remember, but, that that very same blood is also carrying the caffeine to the brain.

Studies have found a correlation between moderate caffeine consumption and improved mental alertness. The key word in that sentence? No, it’s not “found.” Moderation! To truly benefit from the ability of caffeine to help you maintain a sharper focus of attention, you can’t just fill up one of those bubba mugs with 54 ounces of coffee and down it between home and the office. Unfortunately, unless you monitor the intake of the caffeine and limit it to only that which occurs normally in many foods and beverages, the advantage in mental capacity you will experience is going to be more than offset by the disadvantages, which includes many of the several withdrawal symptoms and extended periods of fatigue.

If you can keep yourself from the thought process that says if a small caffeine is excellent, then a lot of caffeine has to be better, you can truly enhance your mental processing abilities, including really being able to process more information at a time. Most people probably don’t need the physical performance enhancement that caffeine offers unless they are exercising. But who wouldn’t mind a small mental edge over everybody else?

Darren Williger is an over-caffeinated, low carbohydrate eating, winemaking enthusiast who writes for caffeinezone.com caffeinezone.com mylowcarbpages.com mylowcarbpages.com and homemadewine.com homemadewine.com

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