10 Essential Facts About Caffeine You Should Know

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Caffeine Makes Working Out Easier

Having a couple of coffees at your favorite coffee shop before you head to the gym could power up your workout, says Michael Duncan, PhD, professor of exercise science at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. In an experimental study he conducted, published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging in December 2014, 19 healthy older adults between ages 61 and 79 who drank the equivalent of four cups of instant coffee or two cups of filtered coffee just before exercising were better able to invest effort in their workout than folks who didn’t get a caffeine boost. They also performed better at tasks like arm curls and a six-minute walk. Even their manual dexterity improved, notes Dr. Duncan.

Caffeine Can Help Control Pain

There’s a reason you can buy over-the-counter pain relievers that combine ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin with caffeine: For some people, these combinations work better than the painkiller alone. Such products are often marketed as treatments for headaches or menstrual cramps, but these aren’t the only types of pain that may be helped by a dose of caffeine.

In an analysis of four randomized, double-blind studies published in July 2015 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers found that a single dose of 200 milligrams (mg) of ibuprofen plus 100 mg of caffeine was substantially more effective than a placebo at providing postoperative and migraine pain relief over six hours.

While that particular drug combination is not commonly available in a commercial product, that dose — or a close approximation of it — can be achieved by taking 200 mg of ibuprofen along with a moderately strong cup of coffee.

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