Friday, April 13, 2007

The Caffeine Rush

Grabbing a hot cup of coffee may be the undiscovered remedy for your burning, post-workout muscles. A recent study has found that caffeine can reduce the pain from exercise-induced muscle soreness. Lead researcher Victor Maridakis studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine and coffee drinkers. Each participant was given either caffeine or a placebo after an exercise session and one hour before a strenuous thigh workout. Those who were given caffeine experienced 48 percent reduction in pain compared with the placebo group.

Previous studies on caffeine have shown that it increases alertness and boosts endurance. The researchers suggest the caffeine likely works by blocking the body’s receptors for adenosine, a chemical released in response to inflammation.

Caffeine and energy packed drinks like Red Bull have grown to a $3.4 billion yearly industry. It grew by 80 percent last year. How dangerous are these drinks and what is the long-term impact they will have on a generation of children who have grown up with a constant caffeine boost?

Just this past year, more than 500 new energy drinks entered the worldwide consumer market. It has been reported that many young adults are abusing the caffeine rush that these drinks provide by drinking numerous cans in a row to get an unnatural “high” or “buzz.”

There are clubs on-line for energy drinkers, MySpace pages and blogs popping up daily. This growing industry is working hard to recruit new fans of these heart-racing drinks.

What are the negative impacts of such drinks like Red Bull, Monster and the newly added (and scandalously named) Cocaine on our health? Do the benefits of caffeine outweigh the negatives?

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