The Effects of Caffeine and Muscular Fatigue on Static Balance
Dr. Kirk Brumels; Dr. Maureen Dunn
Caffeine is the world’s most consumed pharmacologic and psychoactive substance. A potent adenosine antagonist, caffeine is a CNS stimulant that easily crosses the blood brain barrier due to its lipophilic properties. Research by Davis et al. 2002, suggests that blocking of the CNS adenosine receptors may explain the fatigue-delaying properties of caffeine. Fatigue, which can impair the proprioceptive and kinesthetic properties of joints, increases the threshold of muscle spindle discharge, which in turn disrupts afferent feedback and ultimately alters joint awareness. Despite this, no study exists that has examined the effect of caffeine on postural control following lower-body fatigue. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of caffeine on balance prior to and following fatiguing activity. Participants in this study were assessed for postural control while balancing quietly on one leg on a force platform for 20 seconds with eyes open and eyes closed. Balance was assessed prior to and following ingestion of 5 mg/kg of caffeine or placebo, and again following 5-7 minutes of fatiguing cycle exercise. Some athletes find it beneficial to ingest caffeine prior to performance; however, little evidence exists to show how caffeine may affect balance or how caffeine in the presence of fatigue may affect balance. Study results may provide insight regarding the effects of caffeine on muscular fatigue, and how this effect is translated in the proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness of joints.
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