A team of University of Georgia (UGA) researchers found that moderate doses of caffeine, roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee, cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48 percent. Lead author Victor Maridakis, a researcher in the department of kinesiology at the UGA College of Education, said the findings may be particularly relevant to people new to exercise, since they tend to experience the most soreness.
Maridakis and colleagues studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine users and did not engage in regular resistance training. One and two days after an exercise session that caused moderate muscle soreness, the volunteers took either caffeine or a placebo and performed two different quadriceps exercises, one designed to produce a maximal force, the other designed to generate a sub-maximal force.
Those that consumed caffeine one-hour before the maximum force test had a 48 percent reduction in pain compared to the placebo group, while those that took caffeine before the sub-maximal test reported a 26 percent reduction in pain.
UGA professor Patrick O’Connor explained that caffeine likely works by blocking the body’s receptors for adenosine, a chemical released in response to inflammation. Despite the positive findings in the study, the researchers say there are some caveats: First, the results may not be applicable to regular caffeine users, since they may be less sensitive to caffeine’s effect.
The researchers chose to study women to get a definitive answer in at least one sex, but men may respond differently to caffeine. And the small sample size of nine volunteers means that the study will have to be replicated with a larger study.
“A lot of times what people use for muscle pain is aspirin or ibuprofen, but caffeine seems to work better than those drugs, at least among women whose daily caffeine consumption is low,” O’Connor said.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Georgia