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Caffeine Reduces Leg Pain During Heavy Exercise

Last Updated: April 06, 2009.

A moderate dose of caffeine moderately reduces leg muscle pain during high-intensity exercise even in men who habitually drink high levels of caffeine, researchers report in the April issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A moderate dose of caffeine moderately reduces leg muscle pain during high-intensity exercise even in men who habitually drink high levels of caffeine, researchers report in the April issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Rachael C. Gliottoni, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues examined quadriceps muscle pain in college-age men who received a moderate dose of caffeine (5 mg/kg body weight) or placebo, followed by high-intensity cycling (75 to 77 percent of peak oxygen consumption). Of the 25 men, 12 reported low daily caffeine consumption and 13 reported high daily caffeine consumption.

The researchers found that regardless of the level of habitual caffeine consumption, caffeine moderately but significantly reduced the quadriceps muscle pain intensity ratings during 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise.

"The results suggest that caffeine ingestion is associated with a moderate hypoalgesic effect during high-intensity cycling in college-age men who are low or high habitual caffeine consumers, but future work should consider better defining and differentiating pain and effort when examining the effects of caffeine during acute exercise," Gliottoni and colleagues conclude.

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