What is caffeine?


Caffeine is a natural substance found in plants. For example, it is found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans. It is absorbed by your body into the bloodstream. With coffee, tea and energy drinks, this happens through the gastrointestinal tract and with energy gum through the mucous membrane in the mouth. Unlike most supplements, caffeine acts on cells throughout the body, including muscle cells and the brain. For this reason, there are many different effects that caffeine has on the body. We've listed them for you below;


  1. Caffeine gives you energy

When caffeine has entered the bloodstream, it stimulates our central nervous system. Your body produces the so-called Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. Adrenaline is created in the medulla of the adrenal glands. It is known as the stress hormone. It causes the body to go into a state of readiness. Among other things, it leads to accelerated breathing and increased heart rate, increase in blood pressure, increased release of energy, higher alertness and larger pupils of the eyes. Epinephrine is the hormone responsible for improving performance, allowing you to sustain efforts longer, but it also causes your perception of effort to change. That is, the performance seems to feel less strenuous than it actually is. Pretty valuable, then, to help you get over that dead end when real fatigue starts to set in.


  1. Caffeine provides extra strength

One of the most commonly used ingredients in pre-workout supplements is caffeine. These pre-workout supplements should make you go sky-high and allow you to lift weights more powerfully. A comparison of 27 different studies showed that caffeine can improve leg muscle strength by up to 7%, but it has no effect on smaller muscle groups. Caffeine can also improve muscle endurance, including the number of repetitions at a given weight.


  1. Caffeine increases endurance

In endurance sports, the athlete performs a sport for continuous long periods of time, performing for more than half an hour to several hours. Caffeine has proved to cause significant improvements in the performance of endurance athletes. But what about evidence in this area? In a study of cyclists, caffeine was shown to be superior to carbohydrates or water. The group with caffeine saw increased performance of 7.4% compared to 5.2% in the carbohydrate group. Another study combined caffeine and carbohydrates, which improved performance by 9% over water alone, and 4.6% over carbohydrates alone. In a study where subjects had to do a 1,500-meter run, regular coffee drinkers were 4.2 seconds faster than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. Again, an important effect of caffeine appears to lie in the fact that it helps reduce the perception of exertion. So you really can do more than you think with caffeine in your system.


  1. Caffeine improves concentration and focus

Why do people drink so much coffee in the office and generally in the morning? And why does studying is easier with caffeine? For adults, caffeine comparable to 1 to 2 cups of coffee or energy gums has a stimulating effect on concentration and performance. Caffeine also slightly improves memory, alertness, and motivation.

What many people don't know is that chewing caffeine provides even more benefits. Erik Scherder, professor of neuropsychology, said: ""Actually, chewing is a bit like walking. Your heart rate increases slightly and, in turn, your heart is important for the blood flow to your brain. Your brain consists of gray and white areas that become more active by chewing. The connections between all these brain areas become faster, so to speak. Chewing doesn't make you instantly smarter, but it does make you faster. Chew gum for 20 minutes before your exam or work. Not only will you be faster this way, but your memory function will also improve.""


  1. Caffeine keeps you awake

When caffeine reaches your brain, it competes with a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) called 'adenosine'. Adenosine is an essential part of your sleeping cycle. It builds up in your brain when you are awake, gradually slowing down your mental function. By the end of the day, you have accumulated enough adenosine that your brain activity is low and you begin to feel sleepy. During sleep, your brain breaks down adenosine. When enough of it is broken down, you wake up and start the cycle again. This mechanism also explains why you are better off avoiding caffeine as the day nears its end. After 4pm, it can have a negative impact on a good night's sleep. It is important to note that caffeine does not stop your adenosine production, therefore, using caffeine in the morning will not mess with your sleep-wake cycle. You still produce all your normal adenosine. You just can't feel the effects because the caffeine temporarily blocks them.


  1. Caffeine increases fat burning

The search for the perfect weight-loss tool is almost as old as the road to Rome, and caffeine is a common ingredient in weight-loss supplements. There is no magic potion that will vaporize all the fat without effort. The basis will always be healthy eating and good exercising, but don't completely forget the effects of caffeine. Caffeine can help release stored fat from fat cells, especially before and at the end of a workout. In addition, it can also help burn more calories. In fact, research has shown that taking caffeine before a workout increases the release of stored fat by as much as 30%.

Another study showed that caffeine supplements increase the release of stored fat before and after a workout. Caffeine could also increase the amount of fat burned during workouts. In fact, caffeine increases heat production and adrenaline levels, which help burn extra calories and fat. At this time, there is no evidence that caffeine improves long-term weight loss. It will give a good push but you really have to do it yourself.

In addition, caffeine combined with antioxidants from coffee beans can suppress hunger pangs. According to scientists, it can cause a momentary increase in your metabolic rate. Metabolism is the way and rate at which your body converts calories, which are taken up through food and drinks, into energy and thereby suppresses the feeling of hunger.


  1. Caffeine amount and duration of action

How is it that your friend can tolerate endless amounts of caffeine, while you are upside down after only 1 cup of coffee? The impact of caffeine has to do with your body weight. The heavier you are, the more caffeine you can tolerate. On the other hand, the answer lies in your genetics. Genes play a big role in the rapid processing of caffeine. Everyone differs in how they break down coffee, which explains why there is so much variation in how caffeine affects people. There is no one-size-fits-all answer on this.

There seem to be different truths about how much caffeine one should take per day. This is mainly because caffeine reacts differently to everyone. Recommendations vary from average at 400 to 600 milligrams of caffeine in an adult male and between 200 and 500 milligrams of caffeine in an adult female or 1.5 to 3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. There may be a caffeine overdose at more than 600 milligrams per day. FIRST has an energy test where you can calculate your caffeine needs.

Caffeine can be easily circulated throughout the body. It is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. Your blood levels peaking after about 40-60 minutes if you take it through drinks, powder or pills. However, the fastest absorption works through chewing gum, or energy gum. By absorption through the mucous membranes in your mouth, it works within 10 minutes. Many people wonder how long it takes for caffeine to leave your body. Caffeine has an action time of 3 to 5 hours and has a half-life of 6 hours, so it stays in your blood for quite a long time.


  1. Caffeine promotes recovery and reduces muscle soreness

Studies have shown that athletes who suffer muscle damage from intense exercise benefit from caffeine. The caffeine in fact reduces muscle soreness and promotes strength recovery. The subjects participated in a standard test to determine their oxygen consumption. Two workouts were done a week apart. For the first workout, the subjects were given a placebo. For the second workout, they were given three units of caffeine the strength of about three energy gums or three cups of coffee.

There was a clear difference in muscle soreness in the large leg muscles when caffeine was used beforehand. Interestingly, it didn't matter whether the subjects were regular coffee drinkers or didn't drink it at all. They had the same pain reduction when they exercised after consuming coffee.

In the past, people were advised to take less caffeine because it was said to have all sorts of adverse health effects. It would stress you out and it would not be good for your heart. We now know that caffeine plays a beneficial role in the prevention of type-2 diabetes and now also in the prevention of muscle pain. The latter, of course, comes in handy for those people who want to do something about their health and are put off by the potential muscle pain if they exercise a bit more.


  1. Caffeine makes you happier

If you've ever wondered why you usually feel better after drinking a cup of coffee or taking FIRST, the answer may surprise you. Caffeine increases the production of the ""feel-good"" neurotransmitter in your brain known as dopamine. But experiencing pleasure and happiness is not the only thing dopamine does. Dopamine also plays a crucial role in emotional and mental health and is associated with motor control, motivation and desire.


  1. Caffeine supports long-term memory

The effect of caffeine on long-term memory was examined by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in the science journal Nature Neuroscience. They showed pictures to subjects who did not regularly consume coffee, tea, or other products containing caffeine. Five minutes later, some of the subjects received a dose of 200mg of caffeine. By comparison, a FIRST gum contains 80 milligrams. The remaining participants were given a placebo.

The following day, both groups returned to the laboratory and were again shown pictures. Partly the same pictures, partly pictures that were just a little bit different. The people who had been given a caffeine pill the previous day were better able to distinguish between the identical and similar pictures. That's pretty complicated brain activity, the researchers say. By testing memory at this deeper level, they found an effect of caffeine that would have been hidden with a standard memory test.

That caffeine has an effect on memory has long been thought. This study, according to the researchers, makes it clear that it particularly improves long-term memory. Deliberately, the subjects were given their dose of caffeine only after seeing the pictures, to rule out the possibility that they remembered the pictures better simply because they were more awake.


The disadvantages of caffeine

When you ingest too much caffeine, many of its benefits are lost. Elevated mood gives way to irritability, focus turns to trembling, and calmness and productivity become stress and anxiety. In addition, when used frequently, coffee can have a laxative effect. To maximize the benefits of caffeine and minimize its side effects, a good rule of thumb is to use 1.5mg to 3mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day. With FIRST, you know exactly how much you are taking in, it does not have a laxative effect and you notice the effect immediately.


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Interessante lectuur!


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