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Aviat Space Environ Med. 2000 Apr;71(4):415-9.

Reducing the dose of combined caffeine and ephedrine preserves the ergogenic effect.

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Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Ingestion of a combination of 5 mg x kg(-1) caffeine (C), and 1 mg x kg(-1) ephedrine (E) was reported to have an ergogenic effect on high intensity aerobic exercise performance, but 25% of the subjects experienced vomiting and nausea while engaging in hard exercise after the treatment. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether reduced levels of C+E would alleviate the problem and maintain the ergogenic effect.


Twelve healthy untrained male subjects completed four randomized and double-blind, cycle ergometer trials to exhaustion at a power output equivalent to approximately 85% Vo2peak 1.5-2 hours after ingesting a placebo (P) or a mixture of C+E in the following doses: 5 mg x kg(-1) of C plus 0.8 mg x kg(-1) of E (CLE); 4 mg x kg(-1) of C plus 1 mg x kg(-1) of E (LCE); or 4 mg x kg of C plus 0.8 mg x kg(-1) of E (LCLE). Trials were separated by 1 wk. Venous blood samples were obtained and analyzed for caffeine and ephedrine levels 1.5 h post-drug ingestion. Vo2, Vco2, VE, and RQ were measured every minute throughout the exhaustion ride. Heart rate and perceived exertion (RPE) were also recorded every 5 min and at the end of the exercise session.


Plasma levels of C and E immediately before the exhaustion ride were (mean +/- SD): 38.7+/-5.2 micromol x L(-1) C, 1.285+/-0.275 micromol x L(-1) E in the CLE trial; 33.2+/-5.8 micromol x L(-1) C, 1.462+/-0.283 micromol x L(-1) E in the LCE trial; 33.0+/-2.9 micromol x L(-1) C, 1.229+/-0.202 micromol x L(-1) E in the LCLE trial. The times to exhaustion for the treatment trials (CLE = 27.5+/-12.4 min, LCE = 27.6+/-10.9 min, LCLE = 28.2+/-9.3 min) were similar and were significantly greater than placebo (p = 17.0+/-3.0 min). The drugs did not affect Vo2, Vco2, or VE. Heart rates were significantly higher for the drug trials while RPE was lower compared with P. No incidents of nausea or vomiting occurred with the lowest dose of the C+E, LCLE.


A lower dose of C+E resulted in an ergogenic effect similar in magnitude to that reported previously with a higher dose, and with a reduced incidence of negative side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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