Researchers at the University Hospital in Zurich have found that caffeine drinks alter the body’s ability to boost blood flow to the heart during exercise. Blood flow to the heart has to increase during exercise in order to match the increased need of oxygen. To study the effect of caffeine on blood flow, researchers studied a group of young people who were regular coffee drinkers, but had not consumed any coffee for the previous 36 hours. Blood flow rates were compared before and after exercise. The blood flow measurements taken after exercise were significantly lower in those participants who had received 200 mg of caffeine, compared to those who had not received caffeine. While caffeine is well known to stimulate the brain, these results clearly show it does not enhance athletic performance. While further research is needed to examine the effects of caffeine on athletic performance, researchers are confident that these findings confirm that caffeine’s effect on heart muscle blood flow is real.
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