Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Caffeine Lovers Get More Bad News

Apparently, drinking caffeine drinks stifles the body's ability to boost blood flow to the heart during exercise -- according to new research released from a study conducted by scientists at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland.

Previous research suggested that caffeine-based drinks may help people involved in sports-related activities, but this new study suggests that although caffeine drinks are known to stimulate the brain, caffeine is unlikely to boost athletic performance.

Here's why... blood flow to the heart has to increase during exercise in order to match the increased need of oxygen. But when 18 healthy people were given the equivalent of two cups of coffee, the Swiss scientists found that blood flow increase during exercise was much lower than when they exercised without having consumed coffee.

This effect was even stronger when the participants were in a chamber simulating high altitude, said the scientists.

The Swiss researchers stated that their research could also "raise safety questions in patients with reduced coronary flow reserve, as seen in coronary artery disease, particularly before physical exercise and at high-altitude exposure".