Caffeine boosts power for elderly muscles

A new study to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting on June 30 has shown that caffeine boosts power in older muscles, suggesting the stimulant could aid elderly people to maintain their strength, reducing the incidence of falls and injuries.

For adults in their prime, caffeine helps muscles to produce more force. But as we age, our muscles naturally change and become weaker.

Sports scientists at Coventry University looked for the first time at whether these age-related changes in muscle would alter the effect of caffeine. They found that caffeine continued to enhance in two different muscles from mice, although it was less effective in older muscles.

Jason Tallis, the study's primary author, said: "Despite a reduced effect in the elderly, caffeine may still provide performance-enhancing benefits."

For adults in their prime, caffeine helps muscles to produce more force. But as we age, our muscles naturally change and become weaker. So, sports scientists at Coventry University looked for the first time at whether these age-related changes in muscle would alter the effect of caffeine.

Caffeine's effect was smallest for juvenile muscles, suggesting caffeine may not have an enhancing effect in developing muscles.

The decline in that occurs as we age contributes to injuries and reduces quality of life. The process is not well understood, but it is clear that preserving is key.

Tallis said: "With the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle to preserve health and , the performance-enhancing benefit of caffeine could prove beneficial in the ."

The researchers isolated muscles from mice ranging in age from juvenile to elderly, then tested their performance before and after caffeine treatment. They looked at two different skeletal muscles, which are the muscles we can control voluntarily. The first was the diaphragm, a core muscle used for respiration; the second was a leg muscle called the extensor digitorum longus (EDL), used for locomotion.

Related Stories

Exercise changes your DNA

date Mar 06, 2012

You might think that the DNA you inherited is one thing that you absolutely can't do anything about, but in one sense you'd be wrong. Researchers reporting in the March issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, have f ...

New clues to muscle wasting in elderly people

date Feb 24, 2012

Permanent disconnection between nerves and muscles may be the reason behind progressive loss of muscle mass and function in elderly people, Perth-based researchers have found.

Recommended for you

Footpaths and parks support active school commute

date 9 hours ago

While it probably won't make the idea of attending school more appealing social scientists say different infrastructure and behaviour change programs are key to encouraging young people to take a more active ...

Food barometer measures a population’'s eating habits

date 10 hours ago

A survey by Taylor's-Toulouse University Centre (TTUC) is collecting data on the food habits of individuals and how their choices are related to modernisation and other social factors. Results show that almost ...

Who you gonna call? Beijing smokebusters to go on patrol

date 15 hours ago

China's capital seeks to snuff out smoking in indoor public places on Monday with a new ban, unprecedented fines and a hotline to report offenders, but enforcement is doubtful in one of the world's most tobacco-addicted countries.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.