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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Can a Caffeine, Ephedrine Combination enhance short-term, high-intensity endurance performance?

The following article needs to come with a warning label. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or any energy related ailment, please consult your doctor before trying any natural stimulant.
These energy supplements fall under the category of pre-workout nowadays. Also if you do wish to try any combination, make sure you buy your supplement for a reputable distributor or store. I would reccomend Tripleclicks
  • Can a Caffeine, Ephedrine Combination
    A recent Canadian study finds an ephedrine-caffeine combination can enhance short-term, high-intensity endurance performance.By Bruce Krip, M.Sc. ( -- It's well established that caffeine has ergogenic properties, which soon after ingestion can prolong time to exhaustion during exercise. The studies that have found these results have been done primarily on very fit subjects with high maximal aerobic power and with performance tests that have lasted at least 30 minutes. The extent of improvement appears to be dose related until a dose of 5 to 6 mg/kg, above which no further enhancement occurs. That works out to 350-420 mg of caffeine for a 70 kg or 154 lb person. The ergogenic effects have been attributed to many different physiological factors leading to the stimulation of the central nervous system and/or stimulation of the energy metabolism in peripheral tissues. This includes: adenosine receptor blockage, improved neuromuscular transmission, increased muscle contractility, and increased catecholamine (adrenalin) levels. Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic drug that is both an alpha and beta-adrenergic agonist which can stimulate adrenergic receptors in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. In simpler terms, ephedrine, in essence, mimics adrenalin by displacing noradrenaline in the nerve-ending binding sites and attaching to 'excitatory' receptors of the nervous system. Although presumed by the IOC to induce performance enhancement, the investigators of this study (and as reported previously in EndurePlus) could not find any published research reporting observations that ephedrine improves physical performance. So here we have two drugs, one well established as an ergogenic aid (caffeine), and the other with no ergogenicity to it (ephedrine). In fact, there has been some suggestion that ephedrine on its own may even be ergolytic (detrimental to performance). The goal of the researchers in this study was to prolong the ability to sustain exercise that leads to exhaustion in 10-20 minutes of effort, a duration of time that is not likely to deplete energy stores. Thus, in contrast to research that has hypothesized that caffeine can prolong exercise time by reducing the rate of carbohydrate oxidation during exercise, the researchers in this study were interested in prolonging exercise at an intensity at which increased arousal is probably more important than substrate availability. Considering the central nervous system effects of both caffeine and ephedrine, this investigation was designed to evaluate the effects of these two substances, individually and in combination, on exercise that leads to exhaustion in about 15 minutes. The combination of caffeine and ephedrine is based on the speculation that caffeine induces a "permissive" action on ephedrine, lowering the threshold concentration needed for a physiological effect(s) and potentiating the physiological effect(s) of a given ephedrine concentration. After a pilot study by the same investigators determined that caffeine and ephedrine levels peaked at 1.5 hours after ingestion, untrained subjects consumed either 5 mg of caffeine per kg of bodyweight, 1 mg of ephedrine per kg, 5 mg of caffeine and 1 mg of ephedrine, or a placebo 90 minutes before exercise. The main finding of this experiment was that the combined caffeine and ephedrine treatment increased time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by approximately 38% compared to placebo. The researchers said that since neither the caffeine nor ephedrine treatments alone showed a statistically significant change in time to exhaustion, the hypothesis that ingesting a combination of caffeine and ephedrine would enhance performance more than ingesting either substance alone should stand. Rating of perceived exertion was significantly lower in the caffeine plus ephedrine group as well, signifying that the drug combination may have played an effect on either the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system or both. One unexpected result of the experiment was the relatively high incidence of nausea, which reduced the number of subjects available for the study. Four of the 12 subjects stopped exercising during the caffeine-ephedrine trial because of nausea. 
    The researchers reported that the nausea was stimulated by the exercise and was not reported by the subjects prior to commencing exercise. It was presumed that the interaction of the high-intensity exercise with the caffeine and ephedrine was the cause of the nausea since these subjects were able to complete all the other trials uneventfully. Perhaps the masking of perceived exertion allowed subjects to push their bodies to limits not normally reached, causing greater levels of lactic acid production? There has been some suggestion that severe acidosis can cause nausea, as I'm sure many of us have experienced once or twice before! The researchers of this study believe the ergogenic effect(s) of combined caffeine and ephedrine come from the perceptual masking of fatigue, allowing untrained subjects to continue exercising for longer periods. Unfortunately, because the study was conducted on untrained subjects, it is still not clear whether this supplement combination may be of any benefit to a well-trained endurance athlete, especially if there is a risk of nausea. And, of course, there is the morality and legality of such drug use, which I'm not even going to begin to get into. Bell, Jacobs, Zamecnik, Effects of caffeine, ephedrine and their combination on time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 77:427-433,.
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