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​Caffeine. Is it banned for athletes?

I keep on getting this query from many parents and athletes whether caffeine is prohibited for athletes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has released its 2018 List of Prohibited Substances. This list shall come into effect on 1 January for the 2018 Monitoring Program, not much has changed. Caffeine is still part of the monitoring program.

Brief history: Caffeine was considered as banned substance at the Olympics for many years. In 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA**) removed caffeine from banned list considering the fact that millions of people enjoy caffeine as part of their normal lives (coffee, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks with caffeine in them) not directly as a way to boost their performance in sport.

Recommended Dosage: 1 to 3 mg caffeine per kg body weight is considered safe for adults. Such moderate dosages can be found in everyday amounts of coffee, tea, cold drinks, chocolates and some sports products (e.g., gels). For example, 60-80 mg of caffeine is supplied by a small cup of espresso coffee or 400 ml of a cola drink.

Excess intake of caffeine (e.g. 9 mg per kg body weight) can result in side effects like jitteriness, nervousness, insomnia, headache, dizziness, and gastrointestinal distress, which can obviously have a detrimental effect on performance.

Side Effects of Caffeine if taken more than recommended:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Dehydration

  • Restlessness, anxiety & irritability

  • Headaches

  • High blood pressure

  • Interference with recovery and sleep patterns

  • Abnormal heartbeat

  • Increased muscle tension

Reference: Caffeine presence in various drinks referred from Nestle India site.

In case of any related query or to book an appointment with Dt. Silky Mahajan please send us a mail at or call on 080 6741 7780 (Dial Extension: 778).

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