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04.10.2010


Caffeine chewing gum gives faster final sprint and higher testosterone levels

Tired cyclists can probably improve their sprint times if they chew gum that contains caffeine, write sports scientists from the Eastern Institute of Technology, New Zealand, in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Caffeine chewing gum gives faster final sprint and higher testosterone levels
First the researchers got 9 male cyclists to do two rounds of five 30-second interval hign intensity sprints. After that the cyclists chewed 6 pieces of Jolt chewing gum for 5 minutes. Then they repeated the same round of sprints [set 3 and 4].

On another occasion the researchers got their subjects to go through the same procedure, but this time they gave the cyclists chewing gum that did not contain caffeine [placebo].

The cyclists' power output declined by 5.8 percent when they took the placebo. When they were given caffeine, their power only declined by 0.4 percent.


Caffeine chewing gum gives faster final sprint and higher testosterone levels


The researchers measured the cortisol and testosterone concentration in the test subjects' saliva. The interval training resulted in a sharp increase in the subjects' testosterone level. During the last 2 intervals the testosterone level was 89 percent higher than during the rest period in the placebo group. When the cyclists were given caffeine their tetsosterone level was 100 percent higher.


Caffeine chewing gum gives faster final sprint and higher testosterone levels

Caffeine chewing gum gives faster final sprint and higher testosterone levels


That caffeine boosts the testosterone level during intensive training is not news. What is news is that caffeine reduces the amount by which cortisol levels go up. Under placebo conditions the rise was 83 percent; when the cyclists were given caffeine it only rose by 42 percent.

The researchers suspect that a modest dose of caffeine in the form of chewing gum not only helps cyclists to pedal faster, but also to recover more quickly. "Caffeine ingestion has a positive effect on the testosterone to cortisol ratio and may provide additional benefits by enhancing muscles anabolic processes", they write.

Chewing gum is an effective way of providing caffeine for athletes. The caffeine probably enters the body directly through the membranes in the mouth rather than through the digestive tract.



Jolt is not widely available in Europe, but there are other brands available such as Sportlife's Go Energy. The latter was developed together with the Dutch Sports Federation. Dutch champion athletes tried out a chewing gum that contained 44 mg caffeine per piece - about the same as Jolt.

Source:
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Dec;110(6):1243-50.

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