Spanish exercise physiologists studied the effects of caffeine on female athletes during an international rugby sevens competition. Rugby sevens is similar to regular rugby, but played in shorter bouts with seven athletes, rather than the usual 15 players. During two days of tournament play, 16 women from the Spanish national rugby sevens team took 3 mg of caffeine per kg of body mass in the form of Fure energy drink, or the same drink without caffeine. They were given an hour for their bodies to absorb the caffeine. Then, subjects performed jumping and sprinting tests and played three ruby games against another national team. Researchers tracked the individual running pace and instantaneous speeds during the games using GPS devices.
Players who drank the caffeinated version of the energy drink showed increased muscle power output during the jump tests, increased running pace during the games and increased sprint velocity. According to the article, researchers concluded that “three mg/kg of caffeine in the form of a commercially available energy drink considerably enhanced physical performance.”
Though the research suggests caffeine may help athletes, it does not pose similar theories about how the substance effects politicians, some of whom are considering it more closely. Lawmakers such as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have pushed the FDA to scrutinize the substance. According to TheHill.com, the Council for Responsible Nutrition issued voluntary guidelines Wednesday instructing companies to label their products with the amount of caffeine inside, along with suggested daily limits.
Wrigley announced they were introducing a caffeine-infused gum, called Alert Energy Gum, reports ABCnews.com. With 40 mg of caffeine in every stick, the Alert Energy Gum has the same amount of caffeine as approximately half a cup of coffee. Presumably, an entire rugby sevens team could prep for a game with just a pack or two and not have to worry about trips to the ladies room. Though if they did have to go, with the caffeine, they could sprint there more quickly.