Is there anything coffee can't do? In addition to help you suck less in the morning, it can help you live longer. Now, according to new research from the University of Georgia, it appears coffee can boost your athletic performance, as well.

The new findings, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, analyzed the existing data from more than 600 studies covering coffee and caffeine as well as their effects on athletes.

In the past, scientists have changed their opinions on caffeine's benefits. In the 1970s, many believed caffeine altered the body's energy levels, leading to a popular consensus of its performance enhancing capabilities. In the 1980s, these opinions switched when several studies did not find caffeine capable of significantly altering athletic endurance. A decade later, caffeine was king once again when new studies concluded caffeine ingestion prior to exercise could increase endurance in a laboratory setting.

The new study's lead author, Simon Higgs, took a deeper look at the literature to see if there was any scientific consensus on caffeine's effects. Of the 600 studies, only nine randomized control trials specifically focused on the relationship between coffee and endurance. Of these nine studies, Higgs found increased athletic performance enhancements in five. For these athletes, the performance was significantly increased. Athletes consuming between 3 mg and 7 mg of caffeine saw performance improvements of 24 percent on average.

“This is helpful for athletes because coffee is a naturally occurring compound,” Higgins said. “There's potential that getting your caffeine by drinking coffee has similar endurance benefits as taking caffeine pills.”

Another group who considers caffeine as a performance enhancer? The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Athletes with more than 15 μg/ml in a urinary test face sanctions including a possible ban. You likely won't reach these levels by accident, however. This amount translates to approximately eight cups of percolated coffee.

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