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Does Caffeine Improve Reaction Time? (Explained)

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Evidence-Based. Scientifically Reviewed by Michael Sharpe, MSc.

Reaction time may be a crucial element in many sports, increasing it may benefit an athlete greatly. In this article, I'll discuss one study and explore whether or not caffeine has the ability to improve reaction time.

Caffeine likely improves reaction time, it increases levels of epinephrine, mimicking the fight-or-flight response. This action helps your body react more quickly, increasing alertness, energy, heart rate, and improving reaction time.

One study investigated to see how caffeine affected reaction time during a taekwondo task as well as physical performance during a simulated taekwondo competition. (1)

Ten competitors were given either 5 mg of caffeine per kg of body mass or a placebo and were put through two combats (spaced apart by 20 min).

The reaction time test (five kicks "Bandal Tchagui") was done just before the first battle and right after the first and second combats.

Only prior to the first battle did caffeine enhance response speed. Caffeine administration resulted in shorter break durations throughout the first two rounds, followed by greater plasma lactate concentrations, compared to placebo.

Caffeine decreased reaction time in non-fatigued people and delayed fatigue during subsequent taekwondo fights, according to the findings. Other measures of exercise performance also increased.

Usage of caffeine has been shown to raise free fatty acids, increase circulating epinephrine and norepinephrine, and affect heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. (2)

These findings suggest that reaction time is improved with the consumption of caffeine.

athlete taking a reaction time test


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This evidence based analysis of caffeines effect on reaction time features 1 reference, listed below.

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The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

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