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So you love coffee, find out the importance of coffee and other stimulants in sports!

Updated on October 4, 2014

Sports people rely heavily on some stimulants to influence their level of activity. For example, previously conducted studies reveal that the use of stimulants like caffeine reduces the level of fatigue, increasing alertness and concentration among athletes. Like cretine, it increases the level endurance to fatigue in strenuous activities (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Editorial 2167). The mechanism in which caffeine assists in sports is explained by analysing the physiological processes involved in the body. Once a sports person ingests caffeine, it becomes absorbed into the bloodstream within some few minutes. The bloodstream then transports it to the liver where it is metabolised by the liver cytochromes. Once in the cells, it influences the central nervous system to stimulate the adenosine receptors (Avois et al 115). Later, the adenosines initiate the secretion of enzymes that stimulate body cells and muscles to start utilising plasma fats instead of glycogen. This gives strength to the athletes within the first few seconds of activity. Later, caffeine binds with the adenosines of the G-proteins embedded at the surface of the cardiac muscles (Higgins et al 1034). Once at the cardiac muscles, it stimulates the central nervous system to initiate the secretion of enzyme glucagon. Glucagon converts the stored glycogen to glucose in the process known as glycolysis. The process of glycolysis increases the level of glucose in the body. High levels of glucose in the body increases the rate of cell respiration. In the respiration process, glucose dissociates into water and phosphate molecules. Three molecules of phosphate then join to form the Adenosine Diphosphate Bond (ADP) that stores the energy and avails it to the athlete’s body. This gives the athlete the strength required to partake in strenuous activities (Todd and Daniel 262). In addition, caffeine increases the rate of heartbeat, which results to increased blood pressure. Increase in the rate heart beat vasodilate the athlete’s arteries to resist high pressure, allowing them to endure long in very strenuous activities.


By definition, physiology can be termed as the science of life. It entails studying the normal functioning of the body and its constituents. Human bodies function normally as directed by the brain, its central nervous system and other components of the body (Avois et al 115). However, people can alter the normal functioning of their body by inducing it with certain substances. These substances may positively influence the normal physiology or adversely affect it. Positively, some substances may increase the activity of the body and its constituents, or negatively reduce its activity by inducing the secretion of body substances (enzymes and hormones) that control its activities. Stimulation is the act of altering or influencing the normal physiology/functioning of the body. Therefore, stimulants are substances used to alter the normal functioning of the body. They alter its function by stimulating the brain to increase or reduce its rate of controlling the body. People can derive stimulants from natural substances or manufacture them. Examples of stimulants naturally acquired from natural things are caffeine and cretine. Naturally, caffeine in coffee berries and tea leaves. Cretine forms naturally in food substances such as meat and fish. Other stimulants such as cocaine, modafinil, strychnine, ephedrine and methylphenidate may occur naturally but need to undergo processing or manufacturing before their use.

a cup of coffee


However, the use of stimulants adversely affects the body. For example, some researchers revealed that heavy consumption of caffeine causes cardiac diseases (Tarnopolsky 4). It increases the rate of heartbeat and blood pressure that leads to death because of stroke. Other studies conclude that caffeine causes muscle spasms or body tremors that may affect athletes while playing. In addition, there are other allegations that the heavy use of caffeine causes stomach upsets, similar to that of cretine. Harland (525) asserts that some researchers have reported that heavy consumption of caffeine cause spontaneous abortions among pregnant women. Other stimulants like cocaine cause acute cardiovascular diseases (Angell et al, 182). It also causes paranoia, hallucinations and anxiety, all of which are psychological problems. It also destroys blood vessels by initiating the hardening of arterial walls, which leads to high blood pressure and stroke (Docherty 614).



There are various methods of detecting the presence of stimulants among sportspeople. Examples are the use of gas and liquid chromatography. Laboratory operators take various samples of athlete’s urine and then analyse them in the lab by use of chromatograms (Deventer, Roels, Delbeke and Van Eenoo 427). This is because some liquid components of the stimulants can be passed through urine. However, this method proved inefficient because it could not detect the levels of stimulants present in the urine. Later, researchers combined both the liquid chromatography and the gas chromatography (LC-GC) to come up with more advanced techniques. They integrated the LC-GC detection technique with the mass spectrometry technique to bring out effective results (Deventer, Roels, Delbeke and Van Eenoo 428). This is because the mass spectrometry instruments have high-resolution powers enough to detect even ions of the stimulants. Therefore, the combination of L.G.C-MS detection technique proved to be the best in detecting the presence of stimulants among the sports people.


the benefits of coffee

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