Caffeine is classified as a methylxanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant and a mild diuretic. It is found in a wide variety of foods including chocolate, coffee, tea; and in herbs like guarana and yerba mate.
In humans, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, lessening fatigue and restoring alertness.
Caffeine's Health Benefits
Nutritional supplements exploit these energy-boosting properties of caffeine in several main ways.
Diet formulas like thermogenics and fat burners use caffeine to keep energy levels up when dieting and to minimize appetite. Caffeine's diuretic properties also help users shed excess water weight. Pre-workout drink mix formulas usually include some caffeine to elicit a significant increase in energy and focus to increase the intensity and duration of training sessions. Caffeine is also used as a standalone supplement to promote alertness and energy in general.
Use any product containing caffeine exactly as directed. Start with a small or half dose if you are unsure of the caffeine content of if you are very sensitive to caffeine. Be sure to read label warnings and cautions thoroughly.
Side-Effects and Cautions
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a doctor or pharmacist if they have questions about using caffeine safely.