Nuun Energy: Caffeine and Performance

Nuun Energy: Caffeine and Performance

(originally posted at

Our new product Nuun Energy, is the same hydration-focused Nuun you know and love – no sugars, optimal electrolyte blends, and light refreshing taste – but with added ingredients to help elevate and boost performance. In combination, the caffeine and b vitamins added into Nuun Energy help athletes to gain and sustain additional energy while participating in sport.

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Caffeine is commonly and openly used as a performance-enhancing ingredient, but what are the pros and cons to doing so, and are there any side effects?

It has been proven that a low to moderate intake of caffeine before a workout is linked to increased performance and decreased onset of fatigue (1). However many athletes are concerned about a misnomer: that caffeine has a diuretic and dehydrating effect.

A recent study showed that consumption of four, 6 to 7 oz cups of coffee per day did not have a detrimental effect on hydration status compared with a control group that drank water (2). In the study several measurements were taken to accurately assess the hydration status of the subjects, who continually showed comparable hydration status, therefore exposing that caffeine (when combined with fluids) does not have an effect on total body water replacement.

Dehydration is certainly a limiter to speed, strength, and athletic ability, however along with performance boosting caffeine Nuun Energy provides the critical components (electrolytes) needed need to make the most of water consumed.

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So how does Caffeine enhance you performance?

Increased Alertness

It works on a number of levels. Caffeine causes changes in the Central Nervous System (CNS), by increasing your alertness, decreasing reactions; it can help the perceived effort seem less (3). Caffeine can also stimulate blood circulation and heart function (1). All of those components can help give you a competitive edge.  

Efficient Fueling

Caffeine also theoretically helps spare glycogen. It works by elevating free-fatty acids (FFA) in the blood. This elevation helps muscles use FFA rather than glycogen (1).

Masks Perceived Effort

One study recently published looked at the effect of caffeine on aerobic and anaerobic power. The results of the study showed that individual dosage of caffeine increase aerobic output, and at the same time decrease heart rate. More evidence points to the theory that caffeine can help mask perceived effort (1).  Many other, well-conducted studies show that a moderate-to-low intake of caffeine prior to exercise can help increase performance (4).

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How should I use caffeine to elevate my performance?

It’s important to note that individual results may vary when using caffeine to enhance athletic performance. It is crucial to find your personal tolerance, as it has been well studied that an overconsumption of caffeine provides no additional benefits, and may actually cause some side effects.

For those reasons it is recommended to train and let your body adapt to Nuun Energy before using in competition.


Nuun Energy contains 40 mg of caffeine (a moderate amount) about 1/3 of  a cup of coffee. The electrolytes in combination with fluids may offset some side effects of caffeine intake.

Additonal Resources:
1. Ryan, M. (2012).  Sports nutrition for endurance athletes. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: VeloPress
2. Killer S, Blannin A, Jeukendrup A. (2014). No eveidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-study in a free living population. PloS One. E84154
3. Clark, N. (2008). Sports nutrition guidebook. 4th  ed., Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
4. Norian E, Barzegari A, Mahdirejei H, Sujodi A, Esiam L. (2014). The effect of caffeine on heart rate during and after both aerobic and anaerobic activity. Euro Jou Exp Bio. 4(1): 233-236.
5. Fink, H.H, Burgoon, L.A, Mikesky, A.E. (2009). Practical applications in sports nutrition. 2nd ed., Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC.

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