Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Medical Voodoo: Caffeine

Justrose and I always talk about the phenomenon of opposing medical points of view for each ailment, and that fact that medicine (as in the practice of) is basically a lot of voodoo and luck...

It's okay to take tetracycline while your pregnant...ooops, sorry your kid was born with no enamel on its teeth, maybe the Tetra was a bad idea. Tea helps eliminate heart disease...or not. You can't take any anti-depressants while you're nursing...or maybe you can. Caffeine is bad for athletes and will cause dehydration...

Or not.

"...Coffee lovers, hoist your cups. Stopping at Starbucks before going out for a long run or bike ride is no longer a no-no, exercise researchers say.

Contrary to what many trainers and coaches have maintained over the years, caffeine won't leave you dehydrated and can actually improve your endurance.

"There may be a temporary diuretic effect, but it seems the body deals with this quite well," says Lawrence E. Armstrong, a physiologist with the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut.

At moderate levels of consumption, Armstrong says, there is little difference in fluid retention between caffeinated beverages and plain water. The notion that there is, he adds, appears to have been based on a 1928 study so limited it involved only three subjects whose responses were monitored for less than four hours apiece.

As for coffee's impact on performance, dozens of studies conducted over the past three decades indicate that "the effects of caffeine in prolonged, strenuous exercise have been positive in almost all cases," says Kirk J. Cureton, head of the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia." (Read the whole story)

Cool, I'm off to make a pot of Starbucks’ Verona.

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