• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

Coffee and Freediving - the reality

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

How many Caffeine based drinks do you have per day?

  • Never! - Freediving and Caffeine don't mix

    Votes: 36 30.8%
  • 1 per day

    Votes: 33 28.2%
  • 2 per day

    Votes: 24 20.5%
  • As many as I can get

    Votes: 24 20.5%

  • Total voters
    117
E

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
490
173
Caffeine is generally thought to have a negative effect on freediving, and this effect is quite easily experienced by anyone who has tried it.

However, there can be no doubt that caffeine, if used properly, can create a significant increase in freediving performance.

There is both scientific and anecdotal evidence to support that. For example, Kristijan 'kike' Curavic set his 8'32" static PB under the influence of daily coffee, and hit 8+ many times during the same cycle. Careful examination of the variables showed coffee to be the only main factor.

There are generally two ways to benefit from caffeine:
1. Use the vasoconstriction and adrenaline effect to amplify the shock survival response (note: this method ONLY works in divers who have actually developed the shock survival response for diving)
(IS CAFFEINE A HEALTH HAZARD ?)

2. Use the adenosine upregulation caused in the withdrawal period to gain an advantage

If you have reached the point in your diving career where fear & stress INCREASE your diving performance, then you can benefit from #1, the active method of caffeine. If your performance under fear & stress is worse than under relaxed conditions, then your performance will likely WORSEN under the influence of caffeine.

Anyone can hypothetically benefit from method #2, although it is an unpleasant method at best. The idea is to gradually increase your daily caffeine intake over weeks, to around the limit of 700mg/day (WARNING: do not attempt this unless you check with your DOCTOR first).

Once you have elevated your caffeine tolerance, your adenosine receptors will be upregulated. Then, cut out caffeine suddenly. Wait for approximately 60 hours, which is how long the caffeine takes to be cleared. Sixty hours after withdrawal, your withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst, and that is the time when you would most benefit from the effects. At that point your thinking should be ultra-slow, you should feel a drowsy lazy feeling that is almost overwhelming. Your brain will cloudy because it is consuming almost no oxygen. If you combine that state with a homemade aqueous garlic extract, which further amplifies the adenosine effect, you might be able to challenge world records in pool events. That same state would be lethal in deep diving as you would probably perish due to excessive narcosis.

If this sounds confusing, then realize that it is based on a simple concept. When you become accustomed to a drug, your body compensates for the drug's effects. Then, when you withdraw from the drug, the body's compensation mechanisms will still be active. Thus, in general, when you withdraw from a drug, you momentarily get the OPPOSITE effect that the drug itself induced.

An example of that is nasal sprays. If you use nasal sprays all the time, which clear your nasal passages, then, when you WITHDRAW and stop using the sprays, your nasal passages will get WORSE than before. This is even explained on the bottles. This is an example of how when you stop a drug, you get the opposite effect that the drug induced.

Therefore, if caffeine induces elevated metabolic rate, fast heart rate, and other things, then you could expect to get the opposite of those effects during the withdrawal period. This is not just theory, I have read several papers on medline which prove that the effects of caffeine are reversed during the withdrawal period.

Another example is alcohol. Alcohol slows brain activity, which is why you shouldn't drink and drive. However, alcoholics, when withdrawing from alcohol, suddenly suffer from elevated brain activity and can suffer massive epileptic-like seizures, due to the 'reverse' effect which occurs when they withdraw from alcohol.
 
  • Like
Reactions:trux
Paul Kotik

Paul Kotik

FreeDiving Editor
Oct 21, 2003
322
63
0
71
Yes, indeedy, the human body is ( among other things) an ensemble of negative feedback loops with various latencies. Much of our fiddling with ourselves exploits this architectural feature.
 
J

jome

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2004
1,289
200
153
45
Just to balance things out, here's the laymans perspective. Talking about static.

In terms of "everyday performance", having a cup in the morning seems to have no dramatic effect. If there is a performance hit is so negliable I cannot distinct it from other variables.

Things of course get different if you are trying to squeeze every last second out of it. I quit coffee for a while, but now I just quit it a few weeks before a competition. On normal training cycles I drink it in moderation and have made pb's "under the influence".

Eric's method sounds interesting and I guess extreme is an understatement. What scares me is when methods like this become everyday "tricks" for freedivers.

By the way, I've heard that caffeine is not in it self a diuretic, but it is coffee that causes the effect through different substances. Can anyone back this up? I do know that endurance athletes can take huge amounts of caffeine in the pure form and suffer no such side effects, and in endurance sports, hydration is everything.
 
Last edited:
K

Kimmo

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2001
132
20
108
"I've heard that caffeine is not in it self a diuretic, but it is coffee that causes the effect through different substances." - I guess you read about this study from a book or straight from these studies where this is mentioned not just "heard from somewhere" :)

- kimmo
 
trux

trux

~~~~~
Dec 9, 2005
6,522
766
268
Yes, it is caffeine that is diuretic. Caffeine is metabolized in the liver three dimethylxanthines, one of these is Theobromine which causes dilation of blood vessels and an increase in urine volume (source) and also due to its suppression of vasopressin secretion (vasoconstrictive and anti-diuretic hormone) what then also supports the kidneys blood vessels dilatation too and blocks the anti-diuretic mechanism ([ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasopressin"]source[/ame]).

The level of the diuretic effect and the dehydration due to the diuretic effect are being reported in very wide range in different documents. Most of them claim mild diuretic effect and risk of dehydration, others speak about caffeine as a very potent diuretics with serious risk of dehydration, but there are also documents claiming the exact opposite. For example Armstrong's study claims that moderate amounts of caffeine (from one or two cups of coffee) are not more diuretic than large amount of water (water in bigger quantities also has diuretic effects), and that it barely can lead to any dehydration, because the effect is compensated by the intake of the water contained in the coffee drink.

Personal note: we can clearly see that the latter research was done in the U.S.A. where coffee is just dirty water (with similar taste), and not in Italy where a spoon remains standing if you stick it vertically into your espresso! :)
 
Last edited:
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,072
806
218
73
Trux hits on a critical issue that makes it a little tricky to discuss coffee and diving. I am clearly addicted to caffiene, but at very low levels. My dirty water, 3 times a day, is small in volume and not very dirty, less caffiene than one Italian expresso or Cuban cafe con leche (but oh, they are tasty). Lack of that small hit affects my divng negatively. Much more does the same.

I'm a diver of modest ability, 30 m+ 1.25-2.00 min., and completely unwilling to give up caffiene, which, for me is a benefit, not a negative. Clearly, too much caffiene is a negative. If I was going for competition or serious depth, giving it up entirely might be warranted. But for my level and situation IMHO, it is just fine. How then do we discuss the matter without being very careful how much caffiene we are talking about?

Connor
 
trux

trux

~~~~~
Dec 9, 2005
6,522
766
268
I agree with Connor that the psychological effect of discomfort due to a change in your rituals or dietetics (whether it is skipping a coffee, or using of strange or improper breathing techniques, etc.) may prevail the physiological effect. You could measure / feel the physiological effect only if you managed to get over the psychical shock from the discomfort or change. That is usually possible only by getting used to the new ritual by repeating it many times.

As for the theory Eric posted (thanks a bunch for the link - very detailed and interesting!), I totally agree about the withdrawal effect theory (but keeping on mind also the above mentioned psychological stress it may cause, which may partially or fully eliminate the sedative effect at many individuals).

However, I have strong doubts about the first theory. Yes, I agree caffeine indeed blocks adenosine receptors, increases the neural activity, and hence can push the brain further through hypoxia without a blackout, but on the other hand it has many other effects that actually considerable worsen the brain hypoxemia.

Namely, as already mentioned in previous posts, caffeine blocks the secretion of vasopressin, suppressing so vasoconstriction and increasing oxygen consumption by the body. Furthermore as documented in the linked article, caffeine has opposite (vasoconstrictive) effect on cerebral blood vessels, worsening so again the hypoxemia. It also metabolizes into Theophylline, a vasodilatant, that further stimulates the vasodilatation in body (the opposite of the desired vasoconstriction) and reduces the blood pressure (needed for better supplying of brain during hypoxia). And then, according to the document "General blockage of all adenosine receptors by caffeine worsens ischemia/hypoxia". And of course there are still the effects of high heart rate, high neuronal activity, and muscle tension, who all contribute to considerably higher oxygen consumption.

Well, to be honest, on the other hand caffeine also relaxes smooth muscles of the bronchi, so may somehow help with higher lung volume and better oxidation, but I am afraid that the rest of the effects has much bigger impact.

So making the sum of all those effects, and even considering there may be others I am not aware of, I find it quite unlikely that making apnea under the influence of caffeine could do any good for your time, regardless if you are able to turn the stress into your advantage or not (generally you use stress to invoke strong vasoconstriction, but that effect exactly is suppressed by caffeine).

As for the mentioned example of Kristijan 'kike' Curavic and his 8'32" - I rather assume he was used to drink coffee regularly, and was already in at least partial withdrawal sedative state (the half-life for caffeine metabolism is typically 5-6 hours in an adult). When not that, then his adoption to caffeine was already so high, that it had practically no effect on him.

Well, that's just my two cents, but I'd gladly accept the theory if there are good arguments supporting it - so far I did not find any.
 
K

Kimmo

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2001
132
20
108
I agree with Trux, caffeine is diuretic but its effect is quite tiny. There is also newer Armstrong&al study (2005) which says that caffeine in small amounts (0, 3 and 6mg/kg/24h) has quite little effect for diuresis.

- kimmo
 
sebastien murat

sebastien murat

Well-Known Member
May 18, 2004
424
83
68
Caffeine has positive effect on delaying fatigue, accelerating recovery rate, increasing the total number of dives, & neuromuscular coordination (i.e., large muscle motor skill) => great for frequent sub-max diving, e.g., 'smart' spearfishing. But it has an adverse effect on max diving ability due hypermetabolic effects.

Caffeine also increases the risk of SWB because its effects are somewhat similar to hyperventilating. How?
- it has a glycogen sparing effect. Though you can go on diving for hours because of a shift to lipid (fat) metabolism, this in itself will change your RQ (the proportion of CO2 produced to O2 consumed), so that your urge to breathe is delayed
- its hypermetabolic effects also delay one's urge to breathe.

The bottom line, in my opinion/experience, caffeine is ok to boost frequent serial diving ability, but you've got to know what your doing! Its not ok for max perfs though, if you do them properly that is, i.e., with a shift to anaerobic metabolism.

Seb
 
icarus pacific

icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
2,880
212
0
63
The transition can be .... disturbing.

You want to see disturbing, be in the same zip code as me if I can't have my French Roast, right at 5:00 am and ideally made with 2 parts right out of the air-tight container and ground fine, grounds to 1 part scalding water. Mmmm texture.:p

And ferchrisakes Cliff... lose the flavored crap lest I pull your honorary NW permit to stay damp. :head
 
Last edited:
R

Rogert

Aussie Freediver
Nov 4, 2006
157
23
0
32
I occassionally have a iced coffee before school because it stops me from falling asleep on the bus rofl

it has a glycogen sparing effect. Though you can go on diving for hours because of a shift to lipid (fat) metabolism, this in itself will change your RQ (the proportion of CO2 produced to O2 consumed), so that your urge to breathe is delayed
- its hypermetabolic effects also delay one's urge to breathe.

Does this mean that you would burn fat faster/ more or will it increase the amount of energy that turns to fat, increasing overall body fat?
 
sebastien murat

sebastien murat

Well-Known Member
May 18, 2004
424
83
68
you'll burn more of it
 
R

Rogert

Aussie Freediver
Nov 4, 2006
157
23
0
32
thanks for the sabastien, a little boost in the right direction of losing that holiday weight :)
 
trux

trux

~~~~~
Dec 9, 2005
6,522
766
268
It is right that caffeine increases metabolism and the daily caloric expenditure, but on the other hand it has several other effects that negatively influence weight control, so in most diets you will see it banned (although on the other hand there are also some weight control drugs containing caffeine).

Caffeine can interfere with your body's ability to process glucose and increases the insulin levels, and in consequence the natural body insulin resistance. There are also other negative factors - stimulating appetitie, food craving, secretion of stress hormons (that increase body fat),...

You will find a lot of information on the web, just enter "caffeine weight" or "caffeine insulin" into a search engine.
 
Last edited:
W

Waterysmile

Well-Known Member
Jul 4, 2006
343
29
68
50
...Caffeine ...There are also other negative factors - stimulating appetitie, food craving, secretion of stress hormons (that increase boty fat)
Is that 'booty' fat? As I am not a woman I put on more weight around my middle!
 
trux

trux

~~~~~
Dec 9, 2005
6,522
766
268
:D Sorry, although professional in IT, I type terribly, and have to always fix plenty of typos in all my posts many times. Maybe I should let examine me for dyslexia. It should be "body" of course (arrgh, again - I typed "bidy" instead of it now!)
 
Last edited:
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing

ABOUT US

ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2022 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Spearfishing and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.

ADVERT