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Study explores impact of caffeine on exercise performance

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The consumption of caffeine one hour prior to exercising could have an enhancing effect on performance, according to a new study from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

Dr Tina Skinner - a lecturer and exercise physiologist at the institution's School of Human Movement Studies - led the research into links between caffeine and athletic performance.

The study has found that it is the time in which caffeine enters the body - and not the levels in the bloodstream - is a contributing factor to the drug's performance-enhancing effect.

Three randomised controlled trials were undertaken as part of the research, which involved national level male rowers; competitive cyclists and triathletes; and active healthy males.

Dr Skinner said: "We found that when caffeine is consumed following a high-carbohydrate meal the amount of caffeine that enters the bloodstream is delayed and concentrations reduced compared to when caffeine is consumed in a fasting state.

"It appears that it is the proximity of caffeine supplementation timing to the commencement of endurance exercise, rather than the achievement of peak levels of caffeine in the blood stream, that influences the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine."