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Can caffeine alter blood potassium concentration or the perception of pain and fatigue after a 1 km cycling sprint? Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cordingley, Dean M.
Supervisor and department
Syrotuik, Dan (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Bell, Gordon (Physical Education and Recreation)
Magee, David (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Caffeine is used by some athletes to improve endurance performance, however, the mechanism(s) by which caffeine elicits performance improvements have been unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of caffeine on pain perception, fatigue perception, plasma catecholamine concentrations and plasma potassium concentrations to determine whether altered perception related to the central nervous system and potassium ion handling are associated with enhanced performance during a 1 km cycling time trial. A cross-over, double blind design of 13 well trained men (age: 27 ± 6 yrs, height: 180 ± 7 cm, body mass: 76.4 ± 6.4 kg, and VO2max: 57.5 ± 4.6 ml•kg-1•min-1) were randomized to a caffeine (5 mg•kg-1) or a placebo condition. Caffeine had no significant effects on the 1 km time-trial performance indicators; time, peak power, or average power. In addition, caffeine had no significant effect on the perception of pain or overall fatigue. There was a significantly greater increase in post-exercise blood lactate, post-exercise catecholamines and lower pre-exercise blood potassium concentrations when caffeine was consumed. The results suggest that although there were no differences in performance time, caffeine caused changes in metabolic markers. In conclusion, caffeine consumption prior to a 1 km simulated cycling time-trial did not improve performance and its use is not warranted.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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