Knowledge, use and awareness of caffeine in elite athletes

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Title Knowledge, use and awareness of caffeine in elite athletes
Author Anderson, Sally Anne; Desbrow, Ben
Publication Title Proceedings of the 10th Annual Congress of the ECSS (European College of Sports Science)
Year Published 2005
Place of publication Belgrade
Publisher European College of Sports Science
Abstract Introduction Caffeine is the most widely used pharmacologically active substance in the world. As of January 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed caffeine from its restricted substances list. Consequently, athletes are now able to use caffeine in conjunction with WADA sanctioned sports, without fear of doping code violations. Also of interest to athletes, a recent meta-analysis of controlled caffeine trials has confirmed its ergogenic properties particularly in endurance sport (Dougherty 2004). Surprisingly though, very little independent data exists on elite athletes knowledge, use and awareness of caffeine in sport. Methods A questionnaire investigating the beliefs and attitudes towards caffeine use was administered to elite athletes. Elite was defined as having competed at either junior international, open state, national or international levels or being a full time professional athlete. Questionnaires were completed by athletes from a variety of sports, including Team Strength athletes (TS) (Rugby Union and Rugby League), Individual Endurance (IE) athletes (Cyclists) and Team Skill (TSk) athletes (Basketball). Questionnaires were administered to the team athletes at group training sessions, while IE athletes were recruited from various cycling competitions across the state. Descriptive data analysis was completed. Results 67 athletes completed the caffeine survey. This group consisted of 40 TS (23.5±3yrs; 102.6±11kg), 11 IE (26.0±6.5yrs; 65.5±8kg) and 16 TSk (24.8±4yrs; 95.6±13kg) athletes. 26(39%) of athletes reported never having used caffeine to elicit a specific performance enhancement. 13 of 65 (20%) elite athletes were unsure whether caffeine was a restricted substance for use in their sport. Of the 52 that indicated whether caffeine was either restricted or not, 16 (31%) were wrong (Caffeine remains restricted in Rugby League). Only 7 (10%) athletes were confident that they understood the dose of caffeine required to elicit performance improvements in their sport. Stated intakes ranged between 80-400 mg (0.7-5.2 mg/kg BW) of caffeine. Coca-ColaÒ Diet CokeÒ GatoradeÒSport WaterRed BullÒSugar Free Red BullÒBlack Tea Iced TeaPeanut Butter Mars BarÒNo DozÒ Iced Coffee Contains No Caffeine 0(0)4(6)52(78)59(88)3(5)2(3)22(33)26(39)54(81)30(45)7(10)9(13) Contains Caffeine, but does not effect sports performance 47(70)48(72)10(15)5(8)16(24)23(34)38(57)35(52)8(12)31(46)14(21)48(72) Contains Caffeine, and will effect sports performance18(27)12(18)1(2)0(0)46(69)39(58)4(6)3(5)2(3)3(5)41(61)7(10) Table 1: Athlete's knowledge of caffeine's presence in a selection of food, drinks and pharmacy products. Athlete's use of caffeine-containing products before and during competition was commonly restricted to NoDoz tablets, Coke, Diet Coke, Coffee and Red Bull energy drinks. The reported ranges of caffeine consumption during this time ranged from »50 mg (.7 mg/kg BW) to 600mg (5.4 mg/kg BW). The majority of subjects using caffeine to enhance sports performance indicated that the severity and frequency of common side effects such as tremors, headaches, urinary loss and increased sweating were "barely noticeable" and "infrequent". Discussion/Conclusion Despite recent changes to the status of caffeine as a restricted substance in competitive sport, it appears from the present data that many elite athletes remain either confused or misinformed of its legality. The plethora of caffeine-containing products available to athletes adds to the difficulty faced by individuals wishing to harness its ergogenic effects. The current data indicates a distinct lack of nutrition knowledge regarding both the recommended amounts of caffeine used to influence performance and the products which contain these quantities of caffeine. References Dougherty M, Smith PM (2004) Int J Sports Nut Exer Metabol.,14(6):626-46
Peer Reviewed No
Published Yes
Conference name 10th Annual Congress of the ECSS (European College of Sports Science)
Location Belgrade, Serbia
Date From 2005-07-13
Date To 2005-07-16
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/9665
Date Accessioned 2006-02-21
Date Available 2007-05-14T21:49:50Z
Language en_AU
Research Centre Centre for Health Practice Innovation; Griffith Health Institute
Faculty Griffith Health Faculty
Subject Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication Type Conference Publications (Full Written Paper - Non-Refereed)
Publication Type Code e2

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