The effects of caffeine sensitivity on metabolic substrate use and performance

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Cole, Kevin J.
Costill, David L.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
School of Physical Education
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This study was designed to determine if highly caffeine sensitive (HS) and less caffeine sensitive (LS) individuals differ in metabolic substrate use and endurance performance following caffeine ingestion. Twenty subjects were placed into HS and LS groups based on a series of 6 isokinetic cycle ergometer rides in which perceived exertion was held constant and work output was measured. Subjects who performed significantly more work following caffeine ingestion were classified as HS while those who did not were classified as LS. Seven subjects were selected from each of these groups to perform the experimental trials. These trials were conducted 60 min after ingestion of 6 mg-kg-1 caffeine or a placebo and consisted of a 30 min ride at70% VO2max followed by a 60 min isokinetic performance ride. The HS group achieved a higher accumulated workload over the last 30 min of the ride following caffeine ingestion compared to the placebo condition. No increase in work output was observed in the LS group following caffeine ingestion. There were no significant differences between treatments in either the HS or LS group in amount of muscle glycogen utilized during the first 30 min of the ride. During the caffeine trials serum glucose was elevated at 20, 30, and 50 min, free fatty acid concentration was elevated at the zero time point, and glycerol concentration was elevated at 60 and 90 min compared to the placebo trials. However, there were no differences between the HS and LS groups in these parameters. These data suggest that the ergogenic effects of caffeine in some individuals are not due to an alteration in substrate utilization, but may be related to an alteration in neural perception of effort.