Caffeine (1,3,7- trimethyl-xanthine) is a methyl derivative of xanthine, one of the readily available stimulants consumed daily by more than 80% of the world’s population, making it the most widely consumed drug in history. It is basically a Purina compound containing two condensed heterocyclic rings. It is a naturally occurring chemical found in over 60 different species of plant leaves, seeds and fruits. Specifically, much caffeine is found in coffee (Coffee arabica), tea, cola nuts (Cola acuminata). lt is also found but in least quantity in cocoa (Theobroma cacao) (Essig, Costill, & Vanhandel, 1980; James, 1987; Wilcox, 1990; VanHandel, 1983).
The ability of caffeine and other xanthines to aid sport performance is based on both the direct and indirect action on the heart or skeletal muscles, mediated through the nervous system, altered hormonal activities or shift in mobilization of substances (free fatty acid mobilization and glycogen sparing). There is also the possibility that the drug may alter the release, binding or activity of neurotransmitter in the brain, thereby affecting the perception of work intensity (Robertson, Wade, Workman, Woosley, & Oates, 1981)..
The controversy surrounding the use of caffeine as food beverages by laymen or use as an ergogenic aid by local, national and international athletes has drawn the attention of many scientists to research into the effects of this wonderful drug. Some Scientists (Graham, Fiush, & Vansoeren, 1994; Wilcox, 1983) view this aid as a justifiable extension of the body’s natural capacities, while others (Jacobson & Kulling, 1989) see it as a dangerous and unethical violation of the code of fair play in sports.