Sideline Sports Doc: Is caffeine good or bad for athletic performance?

Sideline Sports Doc: Is caffeine good or bad for athletic performance?

Editor’s note: This article by Dev Mishra, M.D. (president of Sideline Sports Doc) first appeared in SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider. Sideline Sports Doc is advancing the Players First pillar of Player Health & Safety through resources that include an online injury recognition training course.

Eighty percent of American adults consume caffeine weekly. Fifty-five percent consume caffeine daily, and most commonly through coffee. Since energizing oneself with caffeine is such common practice in so many Americans’ daily routine, many teenagers and youth athletes also frequently consume caffeine. Here are the benefits and disadvantages surrounding caffeine intake and athletic performance, broken down by age groups.

Teenage Athletes

While there is not nearly as much data on caffeine’s effect on teenagers as there is in adults, it is believed that approximately 25-50 percent of energy drink sales in the U.S. belong to the 12 to 18-year-old demographic.

Since different caffeine and energy drinks contain many different substances (sometimes banned ingredients) and a large range of various levels of caffeine, the drinks can have differing and potentially dangerous effects when consumed by teenagers. Also, as teenagers metabolize caffeine differently than adults, it is easier for caffeine to reach a toxic level in teenagers and allow them to overdose.

Teenagers display side effects in their performance and behavior much more frequently than adult consumers. Teenagers are most often effected by inability to sleep, nausea and sickness, lack of focus, and being jittery. Finally, if a teenager is prescribed stimulants for ADHD, mixing the medication with caffeine can be very dangerous.

Teenage athletes should avoid all caffeine consumption.

Children and Preteen Athletes

Due to advertising and peer pressure, caffeine consumption continues to rise amongst children and preteens. At these young ages, individuals are far more likely to consume a toxic amount of caffeine. To explore the broad range of the negative side effects and consequences that can occur when children consume caffeine, view this comprehensive study of health effects of energy drinks.

Child and preteen athletes should be sure to completely avoid consuming caffeine.

Read the entire article here


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